A New Jersey Traffic Ticket Lawyer Explains Penalties for Distracted Driving

New Jersey has been actively addressing the issue of distracted driving. In this state, drivers can be stopped and fined if caught using a hand-held phone while operating a vehicle. Activities classified as "use" include talking, listening, texting, or emailing on the phone. As a New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer, I have assisted clients who have been charged with distracted driving due to their cell phone use and can assist you if you are facing a similar offense.

Distracted Driving Fines and Penalties

The fines for such offenses escalate with each recurrence and include:

  • For a first offense, the penalty ranges from $200 to $400.
  • In the case of a second offense, the fine increases to between $400 and $600.
  • For a third offense or any subsequent violations, the penalty is more severe, ranging from $600 to $800. Additionally, these violations carry a penalty of three points on the driver's license and could result in a possible suspension of the license for up to 90 days.

Reasons for Additional Penalties

The consequences are even more serious if an accident arises out of your use of that cell phone. If someone is injured or killed, then you could be charged with an indictable crime (New Jersey's version of a felony), and you are in much deeper trouble.

If there is injury, then you would be charged with assault by auto. Serious injuries would result in penalties, including up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Lesser injuries would be up to six (6) months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

In the case of death, you could be charged with vehicular homicide, which carries five to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $150,000.

Defenses for Cell Phone Usage

Hands-free usage of a cell phone is acceptable as long as:

  • The phone's placement does not interfere with the operation of federally required safety equipment
  • The operator exercises a high degree of caution in the operation of the motor vehicle

Any distraction to driving should be avoided to prevent injury to yourself or others due to an accident. 

What You Should Do If You Get a Ticket

If you have been charged with distracted driving in South Jersey, please call me at 856-432-4113 or through this site to schedule a free consultation in my Woodbury office. If you want more information on New Jersey's traffic laws, download my free book, A Guide to Driving Legally in NJ and Surviving Traffic Court If You Don't.

Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.