Specialized Attorneys to Fight Your NJ Speeding Ticket
Speeding is one of the most common traffic charges an individual can face in New Jersey. In fact, almost everyone knows someone who has received a ticket for speeding at one time or another. Despite the frequency in which individuals are charged with this offense, a speeding conviction can certainly result in significant complications in your life. There are always fines, motor vehicle points and the possibility of your insurances rates escalating if you are convicted of driving over the speed limit. The situation is even more pressing if the violation involves a grossly excessive speed (e.g. 90 MPH or higher) or some other exacerbating factor which creates the possibility of a court imposed suspension.
It is certainly advisable that you speak to an experienced New Jersey traffic violation attorney to understand the nature of your ticket/summons as well as penalties and other ramification that can result if you fail to successfully defend this motor vehicle violation. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall are savvy defense lawyers who have decades of experience handling a wide range of speeding scenarios and courts throughout the state. Several of the attorneys on our staff have even served as municipal prosecutors where they handled hundreds and possibly thousands of violations. To speak to a lawyer on our team immediately, call 877-450-8301. The consultation is free so there is no reason to hesitate in contact us.
What You Need To Know About Speeding in New Jersey
There are three basic speeding zones or speed limits in the New Jersey. Operation of a car or truck in excess of these maximum speeds is unlawful and results in a speeding offense. The zones are as follows:
- 25 miles per hour in a business or residential district, as well as when passing through a school zone when children are visible;
- 35 miles per hour in a suburban business or residential district; and
- 55 miles per hour in all other locations, with the exception of areas covered under the the 65 mile per hour limit, as specified by the Speed Limit Implementation Act.
Failure to adhere to the maximum in these zones results in a violation of law and the penalties that apply under the NJ Speeding Law contained at N.J.S.A. 39:4-98. This statute imposes punishment that escalates, for the most part, based on the rate above the speed limit you were operating.
Penalties for Speeding in New Jersey
A first time speeding violation in New Jersey is more lightly punished than is a subsequent conviction, as is the offense of speeding at a speed of one to nine miles per hour the posted speed limit (as compared to speeding at 10 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit). In terms of speeding fines in NJ, you will be subject to the following depending on your speed above the limit:
- Exceeding speed limit across sidewalk (which is four miles per hour) – $76
- Driving below the speed limit to impede traffic – $81
- Exceeding the speed limit by one to nine miles per hour – $81
- Exceeding the speed limit by one to nine miles per hour in a safe corridor or construction zone – $136
- Exceeding the speed limit by 10 to 14 miles per hour – $91
- Exceeding the speed limit by 10 to 14 miles per hour in a safe corridor or construction zone – $156
- Exceeding the speed limit by 15 to 19 miles per hour – $101
- Exceeding the speed limit by 15 to 19 miles per hour in a safe corridor or construction zone – $176
- Exceeding the speed limit by 20 to 24 miles per hour – $196
- Exceeding the speed limit by 25 to 29 miles per hour – $216
- Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 34 miles per hour – $236
- Exceeding the speed limit by 35 5o 39 miles per hour – $256
It should also be noted that statute stipulates that any person who has been charged with speeding 20 miles per hour or more over the speed limit will face doubled fines. Further, all persons charged with speeding 20 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit in a safe corridor or construction zone require a court appearance, as do all those charged with speeding 40 miles per hour or more over the posted limit (in any zone).
Points On Your License. A point system has been created in this state that results in imposition of surcharges once someone has accumulated four or more points on their license. They are also subject to suspension if they reach twelve or more points. Every year a motorist goes without a speeding or other moving violation, three points are removed from the accumulated total. Points are also removed for completion of a defensive driving or driver improvement program. The NJ Point Schedule imposes two points for speeding 1-14 MPH over the speeding limit, four points for 15-29 MPH over the speeding limit and five point if you are convicted of driving 30 MPH or more over the posted speeding limit. You will note that an individual is automatically subject to imposition of annual DMV surcharges if they are convicted of a single speeding ticket involving at least 15 MPH over the speed limit since surcharges are triggered once someone reaches four points. DMV surcharges are an entirely different issue from insurance points assigned to speeding since those are applied strictly in order to compute premium rates.
Unsafe Operation of a Motor Vehicle. Lawmakers have created a separate offense under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2 for “operating a vehicle in an unsafe manner”. While a downgrade of a speeding ticket to this violation negates points for a first or second offense, there are significant fines (e.g. $50-$150 for a first offense and $100-$250 for a second offense) and a one time surcharge (i.e. $250) that apply. If you are convicted of violating this law a third time, five motor vehicle points are imposed, along with a fine of up to $500.
What the State Must Prove to Obtain a Speeding Conviction
Most people who are issued minor speeding tickets to do not go to court/before a judge to fight the speeding ticket; instead, going before a court is only common in instances of excessive speeding or speeding within certain zones, or when mandated by statutes (ie. when speeding 20 miles per hour or more in a safe corridor or construction zone, or when speeding 40 miles per hour or more over the posted limit). In order for the state to prove guilty and obtain a speeding conviction, the state has the duty to establish that a speed limited existed, the driver against whom charges are pending was the driver of the vehicle in question, and the driver exceeded the limit. Typically, a radar gun with correct calibration is submitted as evidence to prove the last element.
Fighting Charges Levied by the State
At the law offices of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, we employ all strategies necessary to have your speeding charges dropped entirely, reduced, or to prove your innocence. Not only can we negotiate with the state for a plea bargain, but we can also help you to explore viable defenses to charges against you. Three common defenses that can be used to fight charges levied by the state include:
Necessity dictated by emergency. One way to fight a speeding conviction is to prove that you were speeding out of necessity that was dictated by emergency. For example, if you were in the process of transporting a passenger with a life-threatening condition to the hospital, and care was time-sensitive, then you may escape a speeding conviction.
Proving that the means by which the officer gained evidence against you was faulty. Remember, the state has the duty of proving that you exceeded the speed limit, typically by evidence obtained via a radar gun. If evidence was not obtained via a radar gun (for example, the officer just “guessed” that you were speeding based on the speed of other vehicles around you), you may be able to prove that this is insufficient evidence. You may also be able to establish insufficient evidence if you can prove that the radar gun relevant to your conviction was miscalculated.
Officer error. Finally, you may be able to secure an innocent conviction if you can prove that the officer mistook your vehicle for another speeding vehicles, mistakenly pulling the wrong driver over. This can be a very difficult claim to establish.
Our experienced New Jersey speeding attorneys will take all the steps necessary to protect you. If we believe that evidence is unreliable, we can file a motion to compel evidence. We are also skilled at filing motions to dismiss, and will protect your right to a speedy trial, as guaranteed constitutionally.
Is Paying a Speeding Ticket Pleading Guilty?
In the left corner of your speeding ticket traffic citation, there will be a checkbox that says “court appearance required.” If the officer who issues the ticket does not check the box, then you have the option to pay the speeding ticket without going to traffic court, but if you do this, it counts as a guilty plea. Remember that if you plead guilty, you are accepting responsibility not only for the fine you pay by paying the traffic ticket but also for the other penalties associated with the traffic infraction for which you have pleaded guilty. In the case of speeding, this can include multiple points on your driver’s license, which could lead to driver’s license suspension if you get additional traffic tickets before the points from the current infraction expire. It could also include surcharges on your car insurance, which you must pay annually for several years.
If the officer checks the “court appearance required” box, then attendance at your scheduled traffic court hearing is mandatory, whether you plead guilty or not guilty. Of course, it might be difficult or impossible for you to attend the hearing. For example, your employer might not allow you to miss work for the court date. If you live out of state and got a traffic citation while visiting New Jersey, it might be prohibitively expensive for you to travel to New Jersey again for traffic court. In that case, you should hire a New Jersey traffic violations lawyer to attend your traffic court hearing on your behalf, even if you were planning to plead guilty to the traffic offense.
What Happens if You Do Not Attend a Mandatory Court Appearance for Speeding?
If you receive a court summons requiring you to appear in court for your speeding ticket, you must appear in person at the court hearing or hire a lawyer to represent you so that the lawyer can attend the hearing on your behalf. If you do not, then the court can pursue consequences for failure to appear. The first step is that the court will send you a notice with instructions on what to do to resolve the failure to appear; this usually involves monetary penalties and at least one court appearance. If you do not correct the failure to appear by following the instructions in the notice, the court has the right to suspend your driver’s license for a set period of time or indefinitely, contingent on you correcting the failure to appear. The court also has the right to issue a warrant for your arrest. This means that the worst-case scenario is that you can wind up in jail for not appearing in traffic court for your speeding ticket summons.
If you miss a required court appearance for reasons beyond your control or because you did not realize that going to traffic court in person was mandatory, the best way to resolve the failure to appear is to hire a traffic offenses lawyer. For all traffic court matters, including speeding tickets, defendants have the choice to represent themselves or to hire traffic attorneys. Even though the court does not appoint public defenders to traffic offense cases like it does to criminal cases, it is always in your best interest to hire a lawyer if the speeding violation is serious enough that the court requires you to appear at a hearing.
Contact Our Speeding Defense Attorneys for a Free Consultation
We realize that speeding may appear like an insignificant charge at face value; however, our attorneys understand how speeding charges can alter a person’s finances and future. If you have been charged with speeding and need legal representation to protect your rights, please contact us today. You have the right to fight speeding charges, and you have the right to be represented by a competent attorney during that process.
To learn more about our services, contact us today and request a free case consultation. You can contact us by filling out our online form, or call our offices directly. Remember, time is of the essence, so act quickly!