Improper Passing Ticket Lawyer

In the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Code (Title 39 of the N.J.S.A.), there are few tickets as damaging to a driver’s record as Improper Passing. What may seem like a very minor offense is actually on the books as a four (4) point violation, meaning that even with a perfect driving record, the points will remain on a person’s license for a minimum of two years. Improper Passing, therefore, can be very costly in terms of increased insurance costs, and will bring many people over the 12-point limit for a Persistent Violator suspension by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

Penalties for Improper Passing in New Jersey Cities

Improper Passing on NJ Turnpike

Image courtesy Ben Harwood

Improper passing under N.J.S.A. 39:4-86 is punishable by a $50 to $200 fine, or imprisonment not exceeding 15 days, or both. However, jail time is extremely unlikely for an Improper Passing ticket unless the ticket is for extremely egregious and willful conduct, like if it is coupled with Reckless DrivingSpeeding at more than 30 miles per hour over the limit or an accident involving serious injury or death. These fines are enhanced when the “improper passing” takes place in designated “safe corridors” and/or “construction zones”. A person’s license may also be suspended, both by the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (accumulation of too many points) and by the judge due to the alleged conduct that led to the ticket.

In many circumstances, a skilled and experienced traffic ticket attorney can reduce Improper Passing tickets to something that entails less, or even no points on a motor vehicle driver’s abstract.*

* Circumstances are different in every case, and the best way to determine what can be done would be to contact a traffic ticket attorney at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at 1 (877) 450-8301 for a free, no-obligation consultation.

What is the Law for Improper Passing (4 points) Under N.J.S.A. 39:4-86?

39:4-86. Improper passing in a no passing zone

Overtaking and passing vehicles; crossing “No Passing” lines

The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left side of the center line of a highway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be made in safety.

The driver of a vehicle shall not drive to the left of the center of a highway in order to overtake and pass another vehicle proceeding in the same direction upon the crest of a grade or upon a curve in the highway where the driver’s view along the highway is obstructed within a distance of five hundred feet.

Except when otherwise directed by a duly constituted traffic or police officer or when the lane in which he is operating is obstructed and impassable, the driver of a vehicle shall not cross an appropriately marked “No Passing” line in a “No Passing” zone duly established pursuant to a duly promulgated regulation of the State Highway Commissioner or an ordinance or resolution duly adopted by a municipal governing body or a board of chosen freeholders, whichever has jurisdiction over the highway.

Amended by L.1948, c. 170, p. 912, s. 3; L.1951, c. 23, p. 82, s. 46.

Passing On The Left When Overtaking Another Vehicle

If you’re driving behind another vehicle and wish to pass it, you should move to the left side and overtake it at a safe distance. Once you’ve safely passed the other vehicle, only then should you move back to the right side of the road. Think of this as the standard way to pass someone: go to their left, overtake, and then return to your original lane.

Passing When Multiple Lines Of Traffic Exist

Sometimes, roads have multiple lanes of traffic moving in the same direction – like on a multi-lane highway. If vehicles are moving in two or more continuous lines, the typical passing rules are a bit more flexible:

  • You’re allowed to pass vehicles in another line, either to their right or left.
  • If a vehicle is preparing to make a left turn (or is already in the process), you’re permitted to overtake it on the right side.

Passing On The Right

Passing on the right is generally trickier, but there are situations where it’s allowed:

  • You can overtake and pass another vehicle on the right, but only if it’s safe to do so.
  • However, no matter the situation, never drive off the pavement or the main part of the road just to pass someone on the right. Stick to the main road – going off the main path isn’t just risky, it’s also against the law.

While it’s important to know when and how you can overtake another vehicle on New Jersey roads, safety should always be your top priority. Otherwise, you may find yourself in need of a traffic offense attorney to defend your interests in court.

FAQs About New Jersey’s Rules On Passing Vehicles

What Is The Penalty For Improper Passing On Right Or Off Roadway?

You could face a $52-202 fine and four points on your license.

Can I Always Pass A Car On The Left?

Yes, but only if it’s safe to do so. When overtaking another vehicle moving in the same direction, you should pass on the left at a safe distance. After passing, don’t move back to the right side of the road until you’re safely clear of the overtaken vehicle. Otherwise you may need to work with a traffic offense lawyer to defend against an unlawful passing charge.

I See Multiple Lanes Of Traffic. Can I Pass On Either Side?

When there are two or more continuous lines of traffic moving in the same direction, you have more flexibility. You can overtake vehicles in another line, either on their right or left.

What If A Car Is Preparing To Make A Left Turn? Can I Pass It On The Right?

Yes, you can overtake a vehicle on the right if it’s signaling or preparing to make a left turn.

Is It Always Legal To Pass On The Right?

Not always. While you can pass on the right under certain conditions, it must be done safely. It’s also against the law to drive off the pavement or the main-traveled portion of the roadway to pass on the right.

What’s The “Main-Traveled Portion Of The Roadway”?

This refers to the main part of the road used for driving. You should not drive off this part (like onto the shoulder) just to pass someone on the right.

Don’t Face An Improper Passing Ticket Alone In New Jersey!

If you’ve received a traffic ticket in New Jersey such as improper passing, you don’t have to navigate your traffic violations case alone. At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our seasoned criminal defense lawyers come with over 200 years of combined experience and an impressive track record that speaks for itself. With a dedicated criminal defense lawyer team that is 11 criminal defense attorneys strong, including seven former prosecutors and multiple members who’ve earned spots on the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 and Top 40 Under 40, our credentials are unmatched. Four of our attorneys have held influential roles like directors of the Drug, Gang, and Gun Task Force, and Major Crimes Division, among others. In addition, two of our exceptional criminal defense attorneys made it to the Super Lawyers Rising Stars 2021 list for New Jersey – an honor given to a mere 2.5% of attorneys.

Connect with our traffic defense lawyers online or call (855) 925-4034 now to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney at a time that is convenient for you. We look forward to taking your call.