When you get a traffic ticket in New Jersey, making smart decisions is the key to avoiding unnecessary consequences. Traffic tickets can lead to points, fines, surcharges and other penalties, and they can even trigger immediate loss of driving privileges in some cases. Making smart decisions starts with getting sound legal advice, and this means that you should speak with an experienced New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer as soon as possible.
While hiring a lawyer for a traffic ticket might not seem worth it, hiring a lawyer to fight your ticket can more than pay for itself in the long run. There are several ways an experienced New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer may be able to help you—from helping you avoid unnecessary costs to helping you avoid consequences entirely.
7 Mistakes To Avoid After Getting a Traffic Ticket in New Jersey
But, for a lawyer to be able to help you, you need to help yourself as well. Among other things, this means avoiding mistakes that could jeopardize your defense. With this in mind, here are seven things not to do after getting a traffic ticket in New Jersey:
1. Don’t Forget About Any Tickets You’ve Received in the Past
Under New Jersey’s points system, any time you get convicted of a traffic offense, points get added to your driving record. The number of points you receive depends on the traffic offense of which you are convicted. If you accumulate too many points, you can face additional consequences on top of the fines and penalties for each individual offense. For example, if you accumulate 12 points on your driving record over any period of time, you can lose your driver’s license even if no single offense on its own warrants a driver’s license suspension.
Given that this is the case, it is important not to forget about any tickets you’ve received in the past. If you already have points on your record, you will want to speak with your lawyer about what this means for your current traffic court case.
2. Don’t “Just Pay the Fine” (Especially If You Are Required to Appear)
Many people assume they can “just pay the fine” and move on with their lives. This is not the case. Not only do you have the accumulation of points to consider, but, as we discuss below, pleading guilty to a traffic violation (which is what happens when you pay the fine) can have a variety of other consequences as well.
It is especially important not to “just pay the fine” if you are required to appear in court. You can find out if this is a requirement by looking at your ticket to see whether the police officer checked the box next to “Court Appearance Required.” If so, you must attend your scheduled court date, and if you don’t, you can face additional consequences due to your failure to appear.
3. Don’t Ignore the Additional Costs of a Traffic Ticket in New Jersey
While most people know that traffic tickets carry fines, many don’t know that tickets can carry various additional costs as well. These include state-imposed surcharges and increased insurance premiums, among others. These additional costs can add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per year. Of course, if you lose your driver’s license, you will have to deal with the costs of finding alternate transportation as well, and you will need to pay an additional fee to have your driving privileges restored.
4. Don’t Get Pulled Over Again
When you have a traffic ticket pending in New Jersey, you don’t want to get pulled over again. This will add to your points total and your total costs, and it will make it more difficult to convince the judge that you deserve leniency. Follow the rules of the road—even if it means that it takes slightly longer to get to your destination—and you won’t have to try to explain why you have another traffic court case pending.
5. Don’t Drive on a Suspended License
Another costly mistake you need to avoid is driving on a suspended license. Not only can the accumulation of points lead to a driver’s license suspension, but certain traffic violations can result in an immediate suspension of driving privileges. These include driving without auto insurance and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), among others.
6. Don’t Overlook Potential Defenses
Another reason why some people choose to “just pay the fine” (which again, has serious consequences that you will want to avoid) is that they aren’t aware of the defenses they have available. There are several ways to fight all types of traffic tickets in New Jersey. While the defenses that are available vary case-by-case, you owe it to yourself to learn about your options before you accept unnecessary consequences.
From unconstitutional traffic stops to police officers’ misunderstanding of the law, an experienced New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer will be able to carefully assess all of the possibilities for fighting your traffic ticket. Then, after conducting this assessment, your lawyer will be able to help you make smart decisions about how best to approach your case.
7. Don’t Try to Handle Your Case on Your Own
Finally, given both the consequences you are facing and the options you may have available, it is important not to try to handle your case on your own. Regardless of the traffic violation (or violations) you are facing, it is well worth speaking with a New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer about your case.
Schedule an Appointment with a New Jersey Traffic Ticket Lawyer
At Helmer, Conley & Kasselman, P.A., we help New Jersey residents and visitors fight their traffic tickets statewide. If you have questions about how to handle your ticket, we invite you to contact us for a confidential consultation. To speak with an experienced New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer as soon as possible, call 877-435-6371 or tell us how we can reach you online today.