Tailgating Traffic Ticket Attorney New Jersey

Whether we are in a hurry because we are late for an appointment or we are just tired of driving behind someone who is moving slowly in the left lane, New Jersey drivers are guilty of tailgating on a fairly regular basis. However, what qualifies as tailgating? According to New Jersey law, tailgating is “following another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of the preceding vehicle and the traffic upon, and condition of, the highway.” Seems pretty vague, right? This leaves us with a rather subjective interpretation of tailgating that will essentially boil down to the Police Officer’s interpretation and opinion of the alleged traffic violation. If you or someone you love have been charged with Tailgating, Speeding, Reckless Driving, or any other traffic ticket violation, contact the New Jersey Traffic Ticket Attorneys today at 1-800-509-333.

Points For Tailgating in NJ

Most New Jersey Motorists’ are squarely concerned with motor vehicle points being assessed to their Driver’s License and understandably so. For a Tailgating offense, under N.J.S.A. 39:4-89, New Jersey’s Division of Motor Vehicle’s (DMV) will assess five (5) points upon conviction. This is important because six (6) points triggers a yearly surcharge for three (3) years and twelve (12) points triggers an Administrative Suspension of your driving privileges.

In addition to these points, the court will impose up to a $200 fine (with the option to double this fine for a violation in a 65 MPH zone or constructions zone), up to 15 days in County Jail, and possibly the suspension of your driving privileges. This court-imposed suspension is permissible pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:5-31, when such person is guilty of a willful violation of the law.

What Is Following Distance And Why Is It Important?

Following distance refers to the space that you should maintain between your vehicle and the one ahead of you when you are driving. It’s crucial to understand and follow these laws not only for legal reasons but also for your safety and the safety of others on the road. In New Jersey, the law that specifically tackles this issue is NJ Revised Statutes § 39:4-89 (2022). The law outlines how closely you can follow another vehicle on the road, taking into consideration factors such as the speed of the vehicle in front of you, road conditions, and traffic flow.

Tailgating Law in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 39:4-89

N.J.S.A. 39:4-89 Following; space between trucks

The driver of a vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of the preceding vehicle and the traffic upon, and condition of, the highway.

The driver of a motor truck when traveling upon a highway, outside of a business or residence district, shall not follow another motor truck within one hundred feet, but this shall not be construed to prevent one motor truck overtaking and passing another.

If you wish to speak with a highly skilled New Jersey traffic lawyer, please call The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall today toll free at (877) 450-8301. We provide flexible payment plans and accept major credit cards. We are available nights and weekends for convenient appointments.

How To Maintain A Safe Following Distance

While the law provides a framework, practical application is key. The common “three-second rule” is a good practice to maintain a safe following distance. To implement this, simply choose a fixed object like a sign or a tree that the car in front of you passes. Count “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three” and make sure you haven’t passed the fixed object before finishing your count. If you have, then you’re following too closely and should ease back.

The Real-World Importance

Understanding and adhering to New Jersey’s following distance laws is not just about avoiding legal trouble; it’s about keeping everyone safe on the road. Tailgating or following too closely can lead to rear-end collisions, which can result in severe injuries or even fatalities. Always being aware of your following distance and adjusting it according to speed, traffic, and road conditions can help you be a more responsible driver and contribute to safer roads for everyone.

Defenses Against A Traffic Offense Charges Of Violating NJ’s Following Distance Law: NJ Revised Statutes § 39:4-89

Ambiguity In The Law: “Reasonable And Prudent”

One of the first things you may notice about NJ Revised Statutes § 39:4-89 is that the term “reasonable and prudent” is somewhat open to interpretation. This can work in your favor. You can argue that you maintained a following distance that was reasonable and prudent under the specific circumstances. Your defense could involve presenting evidence that shows you considered the speed of the vehicle in front of you, traffic conditions, and road conditions when maintaining your following distance.

Challenging The Officer’s Judgment

Another potential defense is to question the judgment of the law enforcement officer who cited you. You might ask questions like:

  • Was the officer in a position to accurately assess your following distance?
  • Did the officer consider all necessary variables such as speed, road conditions, and traffic density?
  • Is there any video evidence, such as dashcam footage, that could dispute the officer’s claims?

By casting doubt on the officer’s judgment or assessment, you may be able to successfully defend against the charge.

Emergency Situations

While rare, emergency situations can also serve as a defense. If you were following closely due to an emergency and no other options were available, you may be able to use this as a mitigating circumstance. However, you would need to provide compelling evidence of the emergency.

Subjectivity And Other Factors

Finally, given that many factors such as road conditions and traffic are subject to interpretation, you may argue that your following distance was safe even if it didn’t strictly adhere to standard recommendations like the “three-second rule.”

Your Optimal Defense Is A Proven Traffic Offense Attorney

Facing a tailgating violation under NJ Revised Statutes § 39:4-89 is undoubtedly stressful, but understanding your defense options can make a significant difference in your case. Whether it’s leveraging the law’s ambiguity or challenging the accuracy of the law enforcement officer’s judgment, knowing the potential defenses can help you navigate the legal landscape more effectively.

Don’t compromise when it comes to your future. The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall offers traffic offense lawyers with an exemplary track record in NJ criminal defense. We’re the advocates you need to turn the tides in your favor. To get started, call (855) 925-4034 or contact us online.