Navigating New Jersey’s complex roadways can be a challenge for even the most experienced drivers. It’s crucial to abide by traffic laws to ensure not only your safety but also the safety of others. One regulation that often gets overlooked but holds significant importance is New Jersey’s Statute 39:4-90.1. This law focuses on the proper use of entrances and exits on limited-access highways, which are typically high-speed roads intended for efficient travel with minimal interruptions. Failure to adhere to this rule could lead to legal consequences that might require the services of a New Jersey traffic offense lawyer.
Understanding Statute 39:4-90.1: A Closer Look
Section 39:4-90.1 of New Jersey Revised Statutes clearly states that no person shall drive a vehicle onto or from any limited-access highway except at designated entrances and exits. These specific entrance and exit points are not arbitrarily chosen; they are established by public authorities to manage the flow of traffic efficiently and safely.
Why This Law Exists: The Rationale
Limited-access highways are designed to be free-flowing arterials that connect significant areas, often crossing state lines or linking major cities. Because these highways usually have higher speed limits, the potential risks are also higher. Erratic behavior like entering or exiting the highway at undesignated points could lead to severe accidents. As a result, New Jersey has enacted Statute 39:4-90.1 to regulate the entry and exit points strictly.
Legal Consequences For Violating 39:4-90.1 In New Jersey
If caught in violation of this New Jersey law, the consequences could range from fines to points on your driving record. Specifically, in New Jersey, entering or leaving limited access highways in an improper manner is punishable by an $86 to $141 fine and two points on your driver’s license, and even court appearances. The fine is on the higher end if the alleged offense occurs in a construction zone, 65 MPH area, or a safe corridor. The penalties may even extend to higher insurance premiums in the long run.
Considering the risks involved, not just legally but also in terms of safety, it’s crucial to abide by this law. If you find yourself charged with violating this statute, consulting a New Jersey traffic offense lawyer could be in your best interest to navigate the legal landscape effectively.
The Role Of Public Authorities In Maintaining Compliance
Public authorities are tasked with establishing and marking proper entrances and exits on limited-access highways. They are responsible for placing clear signs and signals to guide drivers, ensuring everyone is aware of where it is legal to enter or exit. This helps in managing traffic efficiently and minimizes the risk of accidents.
Potential Defenses To Charges Under Statute 39:4-90.1
Insufficient Signage Or Poorly Marked Entrances And Exits
One potential defense centers on the idea that entrances and exits to limited-access highways must be “established by public authority.” If an entrance or exit was not clearly marked or signage was insufficient, you might argue that you couldn’t reasonably know that you were violating the statute. In other words, for the statute to apply, there should be clear indications provided by public authorities on where to enter and exit.
Necessity Due To Emergency Situations
Another defense could be built around the concept of “necessity.” If there was an emergency situation, such as a medical emergency or a car malfunction that forced you to enter or exit the limited-access highway at a non-designated point, you might be able to use this as a defense. In such cases, the law’s primary objective, which is to ensure public safety, could be argued to be better served by your actions rather than strict adherence to the statute.
Mistake Of Fact
“Mistake of fact” is another defense that may be applicable in some scenarios. If you genuinely believed that you were using a proper entrance or exit that was, in fact, established by public authority, you might have grounds for this defense. However, this would require you to provide evidence supporting your belief and demonstrating that your mistake was reasonable under the circumstances.
Lack Of Public Authority Establishment
If the entrance or exit in question was not actually established by public authority, that could also serve as a defense. Given that the statute specifically requires entrances and exits to be “established by public authority,” proving that the point you used was not officially designated could nullify the charge against you.
Inadequate Proof Of Violation
Lastly, like any other traffic offense, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. If the prosecution fails to present adequate evidence that you violated Statute 39:4-90.1, such as video footage or credible eyewitness accounts, this could also serve as a potential defense.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-90.1 In New Jersey
What Does Statute 39:4-90.1 Specifically Prohibit?
Statute 39:4-90.1 prohibits driving onto or from a limited-access highway in New Jersey except at designated entrances and exits that have been established by public authority.
What Are “Limited-Access Highways”?
Limited-access highways are roads designed for high-speed travel with minimal interruptions. These highways generally have higher speed limits and are built to facilitate efficient travel between significant areas or states.
What Are The Penalties For Violating This Law?
Violating this New Jersey statute can result in a range of penalties from fines to points on your driving record. The exact penalties depend on various factors, such as prior offenses, but they can also indirectly result in increased insurance premiums.
What Is Meant By “Entrances And Exits As Are Established By Public Authority”?
Public authorities, such as the Department of Transportation, are responsible for establishing and marking designated entrances and exits. This helps maintain a smooth flow of traffic and ensures driver safety.
Can I Contest A Ticket Issued Under 39:4-90.1?
Yes, you can contest a ticket issued for violating this statute. There are various defenses you can employ, such as insufficient signage, emergency situations, or mistakes of fact, to name a few. Consulting a New Jersey traffic offense lawyer can help you navigate your legal options.
What Evidence Is Usually Required To Prove A Violation?
Typically, the prosecution might use evidence like traffic camera footage, police reports, and eyewitness accounts to prove a violation of this statute. However, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution.
Contact The Law Offices Of Jonathan F. Marshall For Legal Representation
If you’ve been charged with violating New Jersey’s 39:4-90.1 statute, it’s crucial to seek professional legal counsel to protect your rights and navigate the complex legal landscape effectively. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we focus on handling such cases and can offer you the tailored guidance you need. Contact us today at (855) 933-3761 or online to discuss your case and explore your legal options.
To learn more about New Jersey traffic violations, click here.