Navigating the roads requires attention to a multitude of rules, signs, and signals. One particular area where precision is key is making turns at intersections. In New Jersey, the statute that governs how drivers should execute right and left turns is 39:4-123. Understanding this law can not only help drivers navigate turns safely, but it can also assist those who have been charged with a traffic offense related to improper turning. Below is a complete synopsis of this statute to clear up any confusion.
Right Turns: Stick To The Right-Hand Curb
The statute specifies that when you intend to make a right turn at an intersection, you should do so as near as possible to the edge or right-hand curb of the roadway. This means that both your approach and the turn itself should be conducted along the extreme right side of the road. This rule aims to keep traffic flowing smoothly and helps to minimize the risk of accidents by keeping right-turning vehicles out of the way of other traffic.
Left Turns On Two-Way Roadways: It’s All About Positioning
If you’re on a two-way road and intend to make a left turn, the statute outlines a two-step process for doing so safely. First, as you approach the intersection, position your vehicle in the part of the right half of the roadway that’s closest to the center line. Then, as you enter the intersection, pass to the right of the center line. Subsequent to entering the intersection, complete your left turn in such a way that you leave the intersection right of the center line of the roadway you’re entering. Whenever possible, make the left turn in the part of the intersection that is to the left of the center of the intersection. This keeps traffic flowing and minimizes confusion.
Left Turns On One-Way Roadways: Extreme Left Is The Way To Go
The guidelines for making a left turn on a one-way road or at an intersection where the traffic is confined to one direction are slightly different. According to the statute, if you intend to turn left in such a scenario, you should approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane that’s legally available to traffic moving in your direction. After entering the intersection, complete your left turn in such a way that you exit the intersection in the left-hand lane that is lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction you’re headed.
Possible Consequences Of Violation
Failure to comply with NJ law on improper right and left turns could result in an $86 to $141 fine and three 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.
Potential Defenses To 39:4-123 Charges In New Jersey
Claiming Compliance With The Statute
One of the most straightforward defenses to a charge under New Jersey’s 39:4-123 statute is asserting that you actually complied with the law’s requirements. For example, if you are charged with not making a right turn as close to the right-hand curb as possible, you could present evidence to show that you did, in fact, follow this rule. This might include eyewitness accounts, traffic camera footage, or any other form of evidence that corroborates your claim.
Necessity Due To Road Conditions
Another possible defense could be the road conditions at the time you made the turn. If it was unsafe to adhere strictly to the rules—due to obstacles, roadwork, or severe weather conditions—you could argue that you made the turn in the safest manner possible under the circumstances. The goal here is to show that your action was a reasonable response to conditions that made strict compliance with the law impractical or dangerous.
Ambiguous Or Poorly Marked Roadway
If the road markings or signs were unclear, faded, or missing, you could argue that you lacked the necessary guidance to make the turn as stipulated by 39:4-123. In such a case, you would need to prove that the lack of or ambiguity in road markings directly impacted your ability to comply with the law. Photographic evidence and eyewitness accounts could be particularly useful in this defense.
In some instances, you might have had to make an improper turn due to an emergency. If immediate action was required to prevent harm to yourself or others—like avoiding a sudden obstacle or a vehicle coming in your direction—you might be able to use this as a defense. Note that you’ll likely need compelling evidence to support this claim, such as video footage or testimony from other drivers who witnessed the emergency situation.
Questioning The Credibility Of The Evidence
Another approach could be to question the credibility of the evidence brought against you. For example, if your charge is based on traffic camera footage, you could look into whether the camera was functioning correctly at the time. Or if an eyewitness is the primary source of evidence against you, you could seek to challenge their credibility or perspective, thereby casting doubt on their testimony.
Each case is unique, and the strength of any defense will depend on the particular facts involved. Therefore, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you through the complexities of the law.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-123
What Does 39:4-123 Specifically Regulate?
This New Jersey statute governs the proper way to make right and left turns at intersections. It outlines the lane positioning and the turning approach that drivers must adhere to when making these turns.
How Close Do I Need To Be To The Right-Hand Curb When Making A Right Turn?
You should be as near as “practicable” to the edge or right-hand curb of the roadway when making a right turn. “Practicable” generally means as close as safely possible.
What Should I Do When Making A Left Turn On A Two-Way Roadway?
When making a left turn on a two-way roadway, you should approach the intersection from the portion of the right half of the road nearest to the center line. Subsequent to entering the intersection, complete the turn leaving the intersection right of the center line of the street you’re entering.
Is Making A Left Turn On A One-Way Road Different?
Yes, if you are on a one-way road, or the road you are turning onto is one-way, the approach is different. You should approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane that’s legally available to traffic moving in your direction.
What Are The Possible Penalties For Violating 39:4-123?
Violations of this statute can result in fines and points added to your driving record, which could lead to higher insurance premiums. In some cases, you may also be required to attend traffic school.
Can I Fight A Ticket For Violating 39:4-123?
Yes, you can. Various defenses could be employed depending on the circumstances, such as showing you actually complied with the law, or that road conditions or an emergency situation necessitated a different approach.
Improper Turning Attorneys
If you have been charged with a traffic offense related to improper right or left turns under New Jersey’s 39:4-123 statute, you don’t have to go it alone. The professional traffic ticket lawyers at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are here to help. With offices throughout New Jersey, we are conveniently located to serve you. You can reach us at (855) 933-3761 or online to schedule a consultation. Don’t let a traffic ticket add unnecessary stress to your life; let us help you navigate the complexities of New Jersey traffic laws.
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