196 East Commerce Street
Bridgeton, NJ 08302
You got a ticket. Maybe you agree with the charge, and maybe you don’t. But, going to court seems like a hassle and you don’t want to take time off from work, so you are thinking about paying the fine and moving on with your life. Is this the right choice? Or, do you need to hire a New Jersey traffic court lawyer to represent you?
We understand the hassles involved in fighting a traffic ticket. We also understand that most people don’t think they can afford a lawyer. But, we also know how important it is not to overlook the potentially-severe consequences of accumulating points on your driving record. In New Jersey, a single traffic ticket can increase your insurance costs by as much as 73 percent per year, and if you accumulate 12 points (or get convicted of certain offenses, like a DUI or driving without insurance), your driver’s license will be suspended. Accumulating six points (which could happen after just two tickets) can lead to state-imposed surcharges as well.
In other words, getting a ticket can cost you much more than the fine you need to pay to “make it go away.” In reality, paying the fine does not make your ticket go away at all. Instead, it amounts to a guilty plea, and this sets you up for various additional consequences that can cost you far more than you would pay a New Jersey traffic court lawyer to protect you.
If paying the fine amounts to a guilty plea, what do you need to do in order to mitigate (or avoid) the consequences of getting a traffic ticket? You need to plead not guilty in court.
Look at your ticket. There is a date on it. Depending on where in New Jersey you got pulled over, this might be a court date, or it might be a date by which you need to enter a not-guilty plea. In either case, you need to make sure this date hasn’t already passed, and you need to be prepared to enter your plea according to the requisite procedures.
If you simply need to submit a not-guilty plea, once you submit your plea you will receive a court date, and you will need to attend your court date in order to continue to fight your ticket.
When you show up for your initial court date with your lawyer, the prosecutor who has been assigned to your case may offer a plea deal. Typically, this will be in the form of an offer to plead guilty to a lesser charge. While this might be your best option depending on the circumstances of your case, the key thing to remember here is that you are still pleading guilty to a traffic violation. So, you will still probably have to pay a fine, and you will still probably be adding points to your driving record. But, if you do not have any other defenses that are likely to lead to a more-favorable result in court, then your lawyer can advise you accordingly and negotiate the terms of the plea deal on your behalf.
If you accept a plea deal from the prosecutor’s office, then you, your lawyer and the prosecutor will need to take your deal to traffic court to have it approved. You will be required to provide a factual justification for the reduced charge, and you will have the opportunity to make a statement prior to sentencing. These are both critical steps for which it is essential to have an experienced New Jersey traffic court lawyer on your side.
As we mentioned above, one of the consequences of pleading guilty to a traffic violation is the imposition of state surcharges. As explained by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC), these are costs that are imposed “in addition to any court-imposed fines and penalties or any premiums that may be assessed by insurance companies.” These surcharges can be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars per year, and they are imposed annually for three years from the date that you accumulate the sixth point on your driving record.
If you have six points on your driving record, you will be required to pay a minimum surcharge of $150 per year for three years. Each additional point costs $25 annually. So, let’s say you paid the fine for a speeding violation between 15 and 29 MPH over the posted speed limit (four points) and now you are facing a reckless driving ticket (five points). If you plead guilty or are found guilty in court, your surcharge would be $225 per year, or $675 total. But, don’t forget, your insurance premiums are going to go up too. On average, speeding 15 to 29 MPH over the limit costs $317 per year in additional premiums, while reckless driving increases auto insurance premiums by an average of $1,046 per year. So, over the next three years, you could be looking at more than $4,500 in additional expenses.
With these costs in mind, is it worth it to hire a New Jersey traffic court lawyer who can negotiate with the prosecutor’s office and argue your case? We’ll let you decide. If you would like to speak with a lawyer about your case in confidence, contact Helmer, Conley & Kasselman today.
Our attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in traffic court cases throughout New Jersey. Whether you received a speeding ticket, you have been charged with DUI, or you are facing the consequences of any other alleged traffic violation, our New Jersey traffic court lawyer can protect you. To learn more in a confidential initial consultation, please call 877-435-6371 or inquire online today.
Don’t let your rights be jeopardized.