Navigating the roadways requires not just skill but also an understanding of various traffic laws that govern our behavior while driving. One such critical law in New Jersey is the statute 39:4-125, which deals specifically with the conditions under which making a U-turn is deemed illegal. This illegal U-turn law aims to promote safe driving practices by restricting U-turns where they could potentially be dangerous or cause accidents. Understanding this law is crucial for anyone who drives in New Jersey and wants to avoid getting ticketed for making an improper U-turn.
Key Provisions Of Statute 39:4-125
New Jersey’s 39:4-125 statute spells out the limitations for making U-turns under certain conditions. Specifically, this law prohibits drivers from turning their vehicle around to go in the opposite direction in the following situations:
On A Curve
Making a U-turn while on a curve is illegal as per this statute.
Approaching A Grade
This means you can’t make a U-turn when you are approaching or are near the crest of a hill.
Where View Is Obstructed
The law bans U-turns in places where the view is obstructed within a distance of 500 feet along the highway in either direction.
On Marked State Highways
If you’re on a state highway that has signs conspicuously marked stating “no U-turn,” then making a U-turn is against the law.
Understanding The Reasoning Behind The Law
The primary reason for the enactment of this statute is to minimize the risk of accidents. Making a U-turn on a curve or an incline increases the chances of an accident because visibility is often poor. Likewise, turning around where the view is obstructed for 500 feet in either direction can be highly dangerous, as other drivers may not have sufficient time to react to your maneuver. Finally, state highways that are marked with “no U-turn” signs are usually high-risk areas for making turns due to various factors such as heavy traffic, high speeds, or specific road conditions.
Penalties For Violating New Jersey’s 39:4-125
If you are found guilty of violating this statute, consequences may include monetary fines of $86 to $141 and three points added to your driving record, which could increase your insurance premiums. In severe cases, repeated offenses could lead to the suspension of your driving privileges. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of the specifics of this law and to avoid making U-turns in the conditions outlined above.
Potential Defenses To New Jersey Statute 39:4-125 On Improper U-Turns
Lack Of Proper Signage On State Highways
One potential defense against an improper U-turn charge based on New Jersey’s 39:4-125 statute could be the absence of adequately marked “no U-turn” signs on state highways. The law specifies that U-turns are prohibited on highways “conspicuously marked” with such signs. If these signs are missing, poorly visible, or damaged, it may serve as a valid defense against the charge.
Sufficient View Not Obstructed
The statute prohibits U-turns at locations where the view is obstructed within a distance of 500 feet along the highway in either direction. If it can be proven that the driver had an unobstructed view within this distance when making the turn, then the charge may be defensible. This would require gathering evidence, possibly through photographs or video footage, to show that visibility was clear and unobstructed at the time of the alleged offense.
Absence Of Curve Or Grade
The law disallows U-turns on any curve or upon the approach to or near the crest of a grade. If the U-turn was made on a straight stretch of road and not near the crest of a grade, this could be used as a defense. Documentation, such as photographs or other corroborative evidence, could support this claim.
An argument could be made that an urgent circumstance required the U-turn to be made, thus necessitating the action despite the law. However, this would likely be considered on a case-by-case basis and would require substantial proof that the U-turn was essential due to emergency conditions.
Challenge The Definition Of Highway
New Jersey Statute 39:4-125 refers to a “highway as defined in R.S. 39:1-1.” If the road on which the alleged improper U-turn occurred does not meet the legal definition of a “highway” as laid out in New Jersey laws, then this could serve as another possible defense.
Frequently Asked Questions About New Jersey Statute 39:4-125 (Improper U-Turn)
What Does 39:4-125 Specifically Prohibit?
The statute prohibits U-turns in four main circumstances: on a curve, near the crest of a grade, where the view is obstructed within 500 feet, and on state highways marked with “no U-turn” signs.
Can I Make A U-Turn At An Intersection?
The statute focuses on curves, grades, obstructed views, and marked state highways. However, always be sure to observe any posted signs or signals at intersections.
What Are The Penalties For Violating 39:4-125?
You could face fines, points on your driving record, and even an increased insurance premium for violating this law.
How Can I Defend Against A Charge Under This Statute?
Potential defenses could include lack of proper signage, sufficient view not being obstructed, absence of curve or grade, emergency situations, or challenging the definition of a highway. Each defense depends on the specifics of your case.
The Law Offices Of Jonathan F. Marshall Illegal U-Turn Lawyers
If you’ve been charged with making an improper U-turn under New Jersey Statute 39:4-125, you don’t have to navigate the legal maze alone. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are here to provide professional legal counsel to help you build a strong defense. Don’t let one mistake tarnish your driving record; reach out to us for assistance. Contact us at (855) 933-3761 or online to discuss your case and explore your options.
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