Reckless Driving in NJ
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor charge in New Jersey. A motor vehicle operator is deemed to have been driving recklessly if there is an element of deliberateness or wantonness as well as a demonstration of lack of regard for the safety of other persons. The burden of proof rests with the prosecution with this kind of suit to secure the conviction of people accused under this law.
New Jersey Reckless Driving Penalties
Reckless driving has more severe consequences depending on mitigating or aggravating circumstances associated with the violation. On conviction for reckless driving, a person can be exposed to any of the following penalties.
- 5 points on your driver’s license (12 or more points will result in your license being suspended)
- Persons released on parole can have their release revoked
- A criminal record in certain cases
- Possibility of a jail term
- Hefty fines
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
First-time offenders face imprisonment of up to 60 days and fines of $50 – $200. Subsequent offenders, however, are looking at imprisonment as long as 90 days and fines of up to $500. Also, this offense adds five points to the offender’s current driving record.
Given the severity of these penalties, it is important to seek legal counsel as soon as you can. The Law Office of Benjamin Friedman has remarkable experience in handling cases of this nature, and we will help you fight these charges. Where the charges cannot be dropped, we negotiate with the prosecution who allow plea bargains for less serious offenses such as speeding, which also carry less severe penalties.
Elements of Reckless Driving
In New Jersey, you will be charged with reckless driving if you have demonstrated purposeful or wanton disregard for others’ rights and safety, the result of which is to place such persons or others’ property in danger.
Another similar offense is careless driving, which is a less severe violation when compared to reckless driving. It is defined as driving without exercising due caution in such a way as to put another person/property in danger. This is a loose definition that may include speeding, swerving, tailgating, careless overtaking, among others. On conviction, careless driving attracts a fine and adds two points to your current driving record.
Defense for Reckless Driving in NJ
One possible line of defense for a reckless driving charge is to argue that the local ordinance law under which the defendant has been charged does not give a precise definition of the offense. This would make the law unenforceable and unconstitutional for being ambiguous. However, this defense does not usually hold in many cases.
Below is a list of actions that were found to be insufficient in themselves to allow a conviction on a reckless driving charge in New Jersey.
- Having committed minor traffic violations or infractions such as running a red light
- Sudden braking on slippery roads, causing the vehicle to run into a skid
- Driving at night without headlights
- Making a U-turn and not appropriately indicating to other motorists
- Involvement in an accident
- Driving without paying attention
- Driving after drinking alcohol, but below the allowable limit
For all of these actions, when considered separately, a conviction on reckless driving is unlikely. However, any combination of the above, as well as other aggravating factors, may result in a conviction under this charge.
NJ Reckless Driving Defense Attorney
As you can see, the punishment for reckless driving in New Jersey can be very serious. If you or your loved one is facing a NJ reckless driving charge, contact The Law Office of Benjamin Friedman to be connected to an attorney who will help you fight the charges. Our traffic violations defense team has extensive experience in representing similar cases, and we will dedicate ourselves to helping you fight these charges.