Driving in New Jersey comes with its own set of rules and regulations to ensure the safety and flow of traffic. One such rule is about making turns at intersections, specifically outlined in New Jersey Revised Statutes Section 39:4-124. This law is particularly important to understand as it governs how drivers should make turns at intersections when there are signs or markers indicating the correct method. Failure to comply with this law could lead to being charged with an improper turn, and thus it’s crucial for drivers, especially those who might be seeking legal counsel for a traffic offense, to understand the implications of this statute.
The Role Of State And Local Authorities
According to Section 39:4-124, the local authorities and the State Highway Commissioner have the jurisdiction to change the manner of turning at intersections. They can do this by installing buttons, markers, or other directional signs within an intersection to clearly indicate the course that vehicles should follow while turning. The power to implement these modifications lies with the authorities responsible for the respective highways. This means the method of turning can vary from one jurisdiction to another, based on what the authorities deem necessary for that particular intersection.
What Constitutes A Violation Of 39:4-124?
The crux of this statute is compliance. Drivers are mandated to follow the turning course indicated by the signs installed by the local authorities or the State Highway Commissioner. If a driver fails to make a turn in the manner directed by these signs, they are in violation of Section 39:4-124. The law is clear on this aspect: No driver shall fail to turn in the way directed when such directional signs are present.
Importance For New Jersey Drivers
Understanding Section 39:4-124 is essential for anyone driving in New Jersey. This law ensures that there is a standardized method for turning at intersections, particularly in areas where the usual turning methods might be deemed unsafe or inefficient. This not only facilitates better traffic flow but also minimizes the risk of accidents that could occur due to improper turning. Failure to comply with the law could lead to charges, which could require the expertise of a New Jersey attorney well-versed in traffic offenses to navigate the legal repercussions.
Possible Consequences Of Violation
Failing to turn according to markers or buttons at an intersection 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.
Possible Defenses To Charges Under 39:4-124
If you’ve been charged with making an improper turn based on New Jersey’s 39:4-124 statute, there are several defenses that could potentially be raised to challenge the accusation. Here, we will explore some of these defenses in detail.
Absence Of Directional Signs
One of the foundational aspects of Section 39:4-124 is that the State Highway Commissioner or local authorities must have installed buttons, markers, or other directional signs to indicate the approved method of turning. If such signs were not present at the time of the alleged offense, this could serve as a valid defense. In essence, a driver cannot be faulted for not following a turn direction that was not clearly indicated.
Ambiguous Or Unclear Directional Signs
If the directional signs are ambiguous or difficult to interpret, a driver might have grounds to argue that the signs did not clearly indicate the proper method for turning. For instance, if a sign was obstructed by foliage or was faded due to weather conditions, it might not serve its purpose effectively. In such cases, the ambiguity could be raised as a defense against charges under this New Jersey law.
Immediate Safety Concerns
Another possible defense could be if the turn was made in a manner different from what the signs indicated due to immediate safety concerns. For instance, if an animal suddenly appeared in the path where the turn was supposed to be made, or if another driver was acting erratically, forcing you to adjust your turn to avoid a collision. In such circumstances, safety takes precedence, and this could be argued as a reason for not following the indicated turning method.
Mechanical Failures Or Malfunctions
If you can prove that a mechanical failure or malfunction in your vehicle prevented you from making the turn as indicated by the directional signs, that could also serve as a defense. For example, if your steering failed just as you were about to make the turn, leading you to execute the turn differently than directed, you could possibly use this as a defense to a charge under Section 39:4-124.
Questioning The Validity Of The Traffic Stop
Yet another angle for defense might involve questioning the validity of the traffic stop itself. Was there a legitimate reason for law enforcement to stop your vehicle? If the stop itself can be proven to be unjustified, then any charges stemming from that stop, including an improper turn charge, might be open to challenge.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-124
What Does 39:4-124 Actually Regulate?
This New Jersey statute governs the method of turning at intersections. It allows the local authorities and the State Highway Commissioner to install buttons, markers, or other directional signs to indicate the proper method of turning at specific intersections.
What Happens If I Don’t Follow The Directional Signs At An Intersection?
If you fail to make a turn in the manner directed by the installed signs, you will be in violation of Section 39:4-124, which could lead to legal repercussions such as fines or points on your driver’s license.
Can Local Authorities Enforce This Statute?
Yes, local authorities have the jurisdiction to enforce this rule within their respective regions. They can install the necessary directional signs and markers to indicate how drivers should make turns at intersections under their control.
How Do I Know If The Directional Signs Apply To Me?
If there are directional signs, buttons, or markers installed at an intersection, all drivers are required to follow them. These signs are put up to ensure the safety and flow of traffic.
What If There Were No Signs But I Still Got Ticketed For An Improper Turn?
If no directional signs were installed, one potential defense could be that you were not given with proper guidance for making a turn. It’s important to consult an attorney for counsel tailored to your specific situation.
Can Weather Conditions Be Considered A Valid Defense?
It depends on the circumstances. If weather conditions made it difficult to see the signs or made it unsafe to turn as indicated, you may have a possible defense. Legal counsel is crucial to determine the validity of such a defense.
Improper Turning Lawyers
If you’ve been charged with violating New Jersey’s 39:4-124 statute regarding improper turns at intersections, it’s crucial to have professional legal guidance to navigate the complexities of New Jersey traffic laws. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are here to help. With our in-depth understanding of New Jersey’s traffic laws, we can assist you in building a robust defense. Contact us at (855) 933-3761 or online to schedule your consultation today.
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