Many people contact my office about a New Jersey speeding ticket or other traffic offense that carries motor vehicle points looking to avoid them, if possible. This may be because they are already close to having their driver's license suspended (12 points), are worried about getting insurance surcharges (6 points), or simply don't want points on their record.

Unsafe Operation: The Good and Bad News

The solution is usually the "unsafe operation" statute. This was created by the New Jersey Legislature to give driver's the opportunity to avoid points, but not too often. Under this law, you can avoid points by pleading to this, but no more than two (2) times in a five (5) year period.

This is because the penalties are as follows:

  • First Offense: $50-$150 fine and a $250 surcharge
  • Second Offense: $100-$250 fine and a $250 surcharge
  • Third Offense: $200-$500 fine, 4 points, and a $250 surcharge

So the good news is that you avoid points, while the bad news is it will cost you an extra $250 and is limited in use! For this reason, the "no-point ticket" is not the only (or necessarily best) course of action. Sometimes taking the hit on the points is a better way to go.

So What Should I Do?

Unsafe operation is best used where you already have significant points on your record, thus making the extra cost worthwhile. An experienced traffic court attorney can help you to be sure whether this plea is the right strategy for you.

If you have received a traffic ticket in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem or Cumberland County that carries points, call my office at 856-432-4113 or contact me through this site to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.

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