When driving on the roads of New Jersey, obeying traffic laws is not just a matter of avoiding fines or penalties; it’s crucial for everyone’s safety. One such law that holds importance is New Jersey Revised Statute 39:4-122, commonly known as the “Signal by police whistle” law. This law serves as a protocol for drivers to follow when they hear a police whistle while driving, thereby facilitating better road management and reducing potential hazards. Let’s dive into what this law exactly entails and why you, as a driver, should be aware of it.
A Breakdown Of 39:4-122
The New Jersey statute 39:4-122 focuses on how a driver should respond when they hear a blast of a police whistle given by a police officer. According to this law, upon hearing one blast of a police whistle, and seeing the police officer’s hand raised, the driver must bring their vehicle to a full stop. The driver is not allowed to move their vehicle until they receive a signal from the officer to proceed.
What Three Or More Blasts Signify
The statute also elaborates on the meaning of hearing three or more blasts of the police whistle. If you hear three or more blasts, it serves as an alarm signal indicating the approach of a fire engine or some other danger on the road. In such cases, it becomes vital to adhere to any additional signals or instructions given by the police officer.
Why This Law Is Important
The 39:4-122 law serves multiple purposes. It not only enables police officers to manage traffic effectively but also alerts drivers about potential hazards like an approaching fire engine. Ignoring a police whistle can lead to chaotic situations, including traffic jams, accidents, or delays in emergency response times. Therefore, understanding and adhering to this law is essential for maintaining smooth traffic flow and ensuring public safety.
Possible Consequences Of Violation
Failure to comply with 39:4-122 could result in legal repercussions, including an $86 to $141 fine and two points on your driver’s license. The severity of the fine depends on whether you violated the law in a safe corridor or construction zone. It is advisable to always pay close attention to police signals and follow the law to avoid any legal complications.
Common Defenses To 39:4-122 Violations
If you’ve been charged under New Jersey Revised Statute 39:4-122 for failing to stop for a police whistle, it’s important to know that there are defenses that can be raised to challenge the charge. While the law explicitly states that a driver must stop their vehicle upon one blast of a police whistle given by a police officer with a hand raised, there are certain circumstances under which a defense may be plausible. Here are some of the common defenses that can be considered:
Lack Of Clear Signal
One of the critical aspects of this New Jersey law is that the police officer must give a blast of the whistle with a “hand raised.” If the police officer failed to raise their hand or if the hand signal was not clearly visible, this could serve as a potential defense. In such cases, the driver might argue that the signal was unclear or not properly executed, leading to a misunderstanding.
The statute mandates that a driver should stop upon hearing “one blast of a police whistle.” Therefore, the audibility of the whistle is crucial. If you were unable to hear the whistle due to environmental noise, faulty car windows, or other factors, this could serve as a defense. However, it would be the defendant’s responsibility to prove that the whistle was inaudible under the given circumstances.
It’s conceivable that a compelling emergency could serve as a defense. For instance, if you were rushing someone to the hospital and did not stop upon hearing the police whistle, it might be possible to argue that the circumstances necessitated the failure to stop.
Confusion With Other Sounds
New Jersey roads can be noisy, and the sound of a police whistle might get confused with other similar-sounding noises. If there were other similar sounds at the time you supposedly failed to stop for a police whistle, you might argue that you were confused and therefore did not stop. It would be crucial to present evidence that substantiates the claim of confusing noises.
Lack Of Police Officer Identification
For the statute to apply, the whistle must be blown by a “police officer.” If it can be demonstrated that the individual blowing the whistle was not clearly identifiable as a police officer, this could serve as a defense. For example, if the officer was not in uniform or their vehicle was unmarked, a defendant might argue that they had no reason to believe the whistle was an official signal requiring them to stop.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-122
What Does One Blast Of A Police Whistle Mean?
One blast of a police whistle, accompanied by a police officer with a raised hand, signals that you are required to bring your vehicle to a complete stop. You cannot proceed until the officer gives you the signal to move.
What Happens If I Fail To Stop For A Police Whistle?
If you fail to stop upon hearing a single blast of a police whistle from an officer with a raised hand, you could face legal repercussions, including fines or other penalties. The exact consequences may vary based on the circumstances.
Can I Challenge A 39:4-122 Charge?
Yes, there are several defenses that can be used to challenge a 39:4-122 charge. These may include issues with the audibility of the whistle, lack of a clear signal from the officer, or emergency circumstances that necessitated failing to stop. Consultation with an experienced attorney is advised for tailored counsel.
Is This Law Applicable To All Drivers On New Jersey Roads?
Yes, the New Jersey statute 39:4-122 applies to all drivers on New Jersey roads, regardless of whether they are residents of the state or are from out-of-state. Ignorance of the law is generally not considered a valid defense.
Traffic Ticket Attorneys At The Law Offices Of Jonathan F. Marshall
If you’ve been charged under New Jersey’s 39:4-122 statute for failure to stop for a police whistle, it’s crucial to seek professional legal representation as soon as possible. The traffic ticket lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are well-versed in New Jersey traffic laws and can provide you with the representation you need. Don’t leave your case to chance; contact us today at (855) 933-3761 or online for a consultation tailored to your specific circumstances.
To learn more about New Jersey traffic violations, click here.