Many people contact my office with a speeding ticket or other traffic offense that they received in Southern New Jersey, looking to avoid the points, if possible. The solution is often the "unsafe operation" statute, but ironically, that is not the only (or necessarily best) course of action. Believe it or not, sometimes taking the hit on the points is a better way to go.
Speeding Ticket v. No Point Ticket
Speeding Ticket. Let's take for example a speeding ticket. In New Jersey, if you were going no more than 14 mph above the limit, there is an exposure of
- two (2) points
- a fine of $50 to $200, and
- court costs of about $33.
In most cases, the court will levy the minimum fine, so you are looking at $83 plus 2 points for that speeding ticket.
No-Point Ticket. Now, let's suppose you wanted to avoid those points. If you have not plead to an "unsafe operation" in the past five (5) years, then it will be a first offense, and have a penalty of
- a fine of $50 to $150
- costs of $33 and
- a surcharge of $250.
With a minimum fine, that comes to $333, instead of $83. If you have plead to this once before in the past five (5) years and are a second offender, then the fine is $100 to $250, so with minimums, it would be $383.
Obviously, that speeding ticket would be a cheaper way to go, depending on your driving record.
How to Decide on Unsafe Operation
If you get a ticket that carries points, you should pull your driving abstract and consider your options. Many times a simple two point ticket will not have any significant impact. When looking at your abstract, consider the following:
- If you get six or more points within three (3) years, you will be assessed a surcharge.
- If you amass 12 or more points within a 2 year period, your license will be suspended.
If you are close to either of these thresholds, a plea to Unsafe Operation would most likely be the best way to go. You should also check with your insurance agent to see if the points would have any negative effect on your auto premiums.points can also be removed from your driving record
Do I Need a Lawyer?
The bottom line here is that in most instances a couple points on your license is not the end of the world. You may just want to plead to the speeding and then later have the points removed.
But if you already have lots of points on your record, or are facing 4 or 5 points for speeding, you should get a lawyer. If you you received the ticket in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County, call me at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment in my Woodbury office to discuss what course of action is best for you before making any decisions.
If you are looking for more information on New Jersey's traffic laws, then download my free book, A Guide to Driving Legally in NJ, and Surviving Traffic Court If You Don't.
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