Most people have some type of contact with Municipal Courts in New Jersey and that contact is usually due to a driving-related offenses. One of the most common motor vehicle violations is for Careless Driving.
Another common violation which is similar to but more severe than Careless Driving is Reckless Driving. They are both serious in that they can carry significant driver’s license suspensions, fines, and surcharges convicted.
Hiring an experienced municipal attorney at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC, to defend you against violations you have received a summons for can help you avoid the fines, points, license suspensions, and possibly jail time that come with being convicted of a traffic violation.
A person who drives a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving and be punished by imprisonment in the county or municipal jail for a period of not more than 60 days, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 or more than $200.00, or both.
A conviction for Reckless Driving will drop five points on your license! This ticket will increase your car insurance rates.
A person who drives a vehicle carelessly, or without due caution and circumspection, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of careless driving.
A conviction for Careless Driving will drop two points on your license.
As you will notice the language in the Careless Driving statute is similar to the language in the statute forbidding reckless driving, but the penalties for careless driving are lower than the penalties for reckless driving.
It has to do with intent; Reckless driving means intentionally–acting in a manner that endangers a person or property, and careless driving means unintentionally doing so. A driver who is momentarily distracted by something and gets in a crash as a result did not mean to drive unsafely, but did so nonetheless. This would be a case of careless driving as opposed to reckless driving. Furthermore, the law gives an unusual amount of discretion to police officers in determining whether your driving was “careless” or “reckless”. This type of discretion may mean that you got a Reckless when you really only were driving to the level of a Careless. Exactly the type of argument that one of our qualified Municipal Court attorneys can make on your behalf.
THERE IS A DEFENSE
So, you got a ticket for Careless driving, specifically you rear-ended the car in front of you?
As stated above the law requires that you keep your vehicle under control at all times and you may think that you have an uphill battle if you decide to fight the ticket. A good bet is to retain a lawyer, who may be able to positively communicate with the driver of the other vehicle.
The other driver’s primary concern may not be so much whether you get points on your license, but be that you are ultimately determined to be at fault in the accident.
If your lawyer can then represent to the prosecutor that the other driver is present in court and does not object, the prosecutor may be willing to downgrade your ticket to a 0-point violation.