Navigating the roads in New Jersey involves more than just understanding the basic rules of the road. There are specific statutes that drivers need to be aware of, especially if they want to avoid penalties. One such statute that often raises questions among drivers is the New Jersey Revised Statute 39:4-66.2. Let’s break it down to ensure you have a clear understanding.
Who Does This Law Apply To?
Simply put, this law applies to everyone driving a motor vehicle, except for two groups:
This includes ambulances, fire trucks, and similar vehicles responding to emergencies.
Vehicles Directed By Law Enforcement
If a police officer instructs you to drive in a specific manner, you should follow their instructions, even if it means bypassing a traffic signal or sign.
Where Can’t You Drive To Avoid Traffic Signals?
The law makes it very clear that you can’t dodge a traffic signal or sign by driving off the regular public roads. Here’s what that means:
You can’t drive on public property (other than regular roads or highways) to avoid a traffic control.
You can’t drive on private property to avoid a traffic control, even if the property owner gave you permission.
What’s At Stake If You Break This Law?
Breaking this law can be quite costly and inconvenient. If you’re found guilty:
- Fines: You can be fined anywhere from $50.00 to $200.00.
- Jail Time: In extreme cases, you might also face up to 15 days in prison.
- Both: In some situations, you could be hit with both a fine and jail time.
In a nutshell, while it might seem tempting to cut across a parking lot or field to skip waiting at a long light or avoid a stop sign, doing so in New Jersey could land you with a hefty fine, a short stint in jail, or both.
Frequently Asked Questions About The New Jersey Traffic Law On Avoiding Traffic Signals And Signs
Are There Any Exceptions To This Rule?
Yes, emergency vehicles, like ambulances or fire trucks, are exempted. Also, if a law enforcement officer directs you to drive in a certain way, you should follow their instructions, even if it means bypassing a traffic signal or sign.
If I Have Permission From A Property Owner, Can I Drive On Their Land To Avoid A Signal?
No. Even if you have the owner’s permission, driving on private property to avoid a traffic control signal or sign is still a violation of this statute.
What Kind Of Penalties Can I Expect If I’m Caught Avoiding A Traffic Signal Or Sign?
If found guilty, you can face a fine ranging from $50.00 to $200.00, up to 15 days in jail, or both.
Do These Rules Apply To All Public Properties, Like Parking Lots Of Malls Or Parks?
Yes, the statute clearly mentions that you can’t drive on public property other than regular roads or highways to avoid a traffic control.
If I Accidentally Drive On Public Or Private Property Without The Intent Of Avoiding A Traffic Control, Will I Still Be Fined?
The statute specifically addresses drivers who use properties “for the purpose of avoiding a traffic control signal or sign.” If you can prove that your intent was not to bypass traffic controls, you might have a valid defense.
Are Bicycles Or Other Non-Motorized Vehicles Included In This Rule?
The statute specifically refers to “motor vehicles.” Thus, bicycles or other non-motorized vehicles are not explicitly covered. However, riders should always prioritize safety and follow traffic regulations.
What If The Traffic Signal Is Malfunctioning Or Not Working At All?
If a traffic signal is not functioning, drivers should treat it as a stop sign and proceed with caution. Driving on another property to avoid a malfunctioning signal would still be a violation of this statute.
How Will Law Enforcement Determine If I Was Avoiding A Traffic Control Or Just Taking A Shortcut For Another Reason?
Law enforcement will consider the circumstances, your driving pattern, and potentially gather evidence or witness statements. If you’re questioned, it’s essential to be honest about your intent.
Are There Any Other Traffic Laws I Should Be Aware Of When Driving In New Jersey?
Yes, New Jersey has a comprehensive set of traffic laws. Always familiarize yourself with local regulations to ensure safe and lawful driving. Otherwise, you may find that you need a traffic violation lawyer to defend against the state charges you’re facing in municipal court. Although our firm’s criminal defense lawyers are capable of defending against any criminal charge, state crime, or federal crime you may be facing, it is ideal to avoid traffic offense complications in the first place.
Don’t Face New Jersey Traffic Tickets Alone!
If you’re accused of dodging traffic signals or signs in New Jersey – or any other traffic crimes or infractions – call the skilled traffic defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall to discuss your traffic ticket case. Our criminal defense lawyer team offers unparalleled expertise with over 200 years of combined experience in criminal law. Our formidable team includes 11 devoted criminal defense attorneys, seven of whom are former prosecutors—four held esteemed roles in New Jersey’s Drug, Gang, and Gun Task Force, Major Crimes Division, Trial Division, and Juvenile Division. Numerous members have been recognized among the National Trial Lawyers Top 100, Top 40 Under 40, and the exclusive Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2021 list for New Jersey. With a criminal defense attorney Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey, trust in our comprehensive defense. Contact our skilled criminal defense attorneys now at (855) 925-4034 or online. A solid defense – and respectful treatment by a reputable traffic violation attorney – awaits.