No one purposely tries to get a speeding ticket when they are driving, but even the most conscientious drivers end up getting citations. The fines and penalties for this in the state of New Jersey can be pretty high, too, and can stay on your permanent driving record. When you see how high the ticket fines and associated points are and think about those long-term effects, it is no wonder why so many try to reduce their speeding tickets or have them dismissed altogether.
What are the Fines and Penalties for Speeding in NJ?
The fines charged on speeding tickets depend on how fast the driver was going, and can really make a dent in your wallet:
- Speeding 1 to 9 mph over the limit: $85
- Speeding 10 to 14 mph over the limit: $95
- Speeding 15 to 19 mph over the limit: $105
- Speeding 20 to 24 mph over the limit: $200
- Speeding 25 to 29 mph over the limit: $220
- Speeding 30 to 34 mph over the limit: $240
- Speeding 35 to 39 mph over the limit: $260
The points also increase when drivers speed at higher rates:
- Speeding 1 to 14 mph over the limit: 2 points
- Speeding 15 to 29 mph over the limit: 4 points
- Speeding 30+ mph over the limit: 5 points
Those hefty fines and points are just the beginning, though. When drivers are caught going 10 or more mph over a 65 (or higher) mph speed limit, the fine will be doubled. Here is an example: If you were driving 85-mph in a 65-mph zone, your fine would be $200 x 2 = $400. Fines are also doubled for those caught speeding in school zones, designated construction areas and high-fatality zones.
On top of all that, auto insurance companies will find out about these violations and tickets and adjust driver rates accordingly; on average, a premium can increase up to 15 percent for just one ticket. In New Jersey, drivers who have accumulated six or more points in a three-year period have to pay a surcharge as well, and this is currently $150 plus another $25 for every point over six.
What Should I Do When I Get Pulled Over for Speeding?
The most important thing to do when getting pulled over by law enforcement is to stay as calm and respectful as possible – this is not easy, but slow, deep breaths will help. Keep your hands where they can be seen, move slowly, and quickly provide the information that they request: Your driver’s license and insurance card, for starters. Be polite when answering questions, and as honest as possible.
Do not attempt to argue with the officer, as any signs of aggression can quickly escalate and lead to trouble. If you verbally abuse them, you will likely end up with a higher fine, another ticket, and additional charges like contempt. Accept the ticket if you are given one, and do not leave the area until the officer is finished.
If you feel that you were not speeding check the area to see if there were any posted signs and take a few photos, since there may be some other evidence at the scene. There may even be witnesses who saw what happened. You may want to reach out to them if it feels safe to do so. Ask them what they saw, and request their contact information. Read the ticket over carefully, and look at it from an objective point of view. If you agree with the charge, follow the directions for making the payment.
How Can I Fight a Speeding Ticket in New Jersey?
The ticket will also have information about a court date, and this is when you would need to show up in court to fight your ticket. Read carefully, as it might also have a deadline for paying the ticket (and therefore admitting guilt) and entering a plea of not guilty. Either way, it is important to take action on the date shown, otherwise you might end up with additional fines and penalties.
If you decide to plead not guilty, you will need to show up on the court date, either on your own or with an attorney. Sometimes, traffic ticket lawyers can resolve cases without their clients going to court – NJ courts call this a “plea by mail.” For this to happen, you will need to provide a sworn statement claiming that it is “unduly burdensome” for you to appear in court for the ticket. Many defendants who live in faraway parts of NJ or out-of-state are able to do this.
How Prosecutors Handle Traffic Tickets in New Jersey?
On the first court date, a prosecutor will often offer a plea to an amended charge if a traffic violation carries points. In other words, that defendant could be offered a deal in which they plead guilty to a lesser charge and receives less points. The fine could also be reduced, but is usually not dismissed. It could also be increased instead, to compensate for the point reduction.
When plea deals like this are agreed upon with defendants and prosecutors, the defendant is still required to appear before the judge, who will want to know all the facts of the case and how the agreement was decided upon. The defendant may also need to answer a lot of pointed questions at this time. With cut-and-dried cases like low fines and first offenses, many defendants represent themselves and make their own deals with prosecutors. It is never a bad idea to have legal representation and if the charges are more severe, it makes even more sense to have an experienced attorney by your side in traffic court.
It is also important to know that most of the time, courts require defendants to pay their fees and fines right after court appearances. Be sure to bring your credit card, cash, or checkbook. If you cannot afford to pay the entire amount at once, they may be able to help you out with a payment plan.
How Hard is it to Fight a NJ Speeding Ticket?
While fighting a speeding ticket is never a simple task, it is possible to fight one successfully. For example, if an officer uses a radar device, these are not foolproof – sometimes, they are not used properly or there are accuracy or calibration issues. When the speed is estimated rather than recorded with a device, there could also be room for question.
It is not unheard of for an officer to write down incorrect information on a ticket, like the wrong color or model. Other kinds of errors and discrepancies can also cast reasonable doubt as to the validity of a speeding ticket in NJ. These might include driver and passenger videos, police cameras and witness statements. So instead of going ahead and paying a ticket you think you do not deserve, it might make sense to contact a lawyer for a consultation. Remember, points will stay on your license forever, and you can get them from other moving violations like running traffic lights.
Contact the New Jersey Traffic Ticket Attorneys at Ellis Law for Help Fighting a Traffic Ticket
For a free consultation on challenging any kind of moving violation ticket, reach out to the respected New Jersey traffic ticket attorneys at Ellis Law. Call our Freehold, New Jersey offices at 732-308-0200 or complete our online form today for a consultation. We help clients in Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.