As a traffic law attorney of New Jersey, one thing I’ve come to understand to be true is that car accidents can happen to anyone at any given time. If you’ve been driving for a while, chances are, you’ve either been involved in an automobile accident or have witnessed one occur first-hand. In many cases, drivers do not even realize they have been involved in an accident and drive off without realizing they have caused an accident. However, if you leave the scene of an accident, you could face serious charges in the state of New Jersey.
There are absolutely penalties for leaving the scene of an accident. If you leave the scene of an accident you could face either traffic ticket charges or in worst case scenarios, criminal charges. Penalties can depend on:
- Whether or not there was damage to the vehicle
- Whether or not someone was injured as a result of the accident
- Whether or not someone was killed as a result of the accident
First Offense Penalties Include:
- Fine from $200 to $400
- Spend up to 30 days in jail
- Six-month license suspension
- 2 motor vehicle points added to license
Second Offense Penalties Include:
- Fine from $400 to $600
- From 30 to 90 days spent in jail
- 1 year licenses suspension
- 2 motor vehicle points added to license
Injury or Death:
- From $2,500 to $5,000 fine
- 180 days spent in county jail
- 1 year license suspension for a first offense
- Permanent license forfeiture for a 2nd offense
- 8 motor vehicle points added to license
As an experienced traffic defense lawyer, I, Charles Block can craft an effective defense to ensure you avoid severe penalties if you leave the scene of the accident. But, to avoid this scenario altogether, always pull over to the side of the road if involved in an accident and wait for assistance.
Choosing to drive without car insurance in the state of New Jersey is not a smart choice. In fact, it is one of the most serious motor vehicle offenses in the state of New Jersey. Insurance protects you, your car, and other drivers and is required by the state of New Jersey. There are several car insurance companies all competing for your business, so do your research and you are sure to find one that is affordable and meets all of your criteria.
Mandatory penalties imposed by the state of New Jersey for driving without car insurance includes a mandatory loss of license for one year, a $300.00 fine, $250.00 to be paid for three years for DMV surcharges, and up to $1,000.00 in community service. The length of community service will be determined by the municipal court and there will also be court costs and fees that will be required to be paid. A second offense carries more serious penalties including mandatory jail time of 14 days, a fine of up to $5000.00, a suspended license in New Jersey for two years, and 30 days of community service.
Every driver or registered owner of a motor vehicle is required to have the minimum required car insurance. You must also carry the proof of your insurance in the car. If you are pulled over and caught without the proof of your car insurance, such as your insurance card, then you will be ticketed and fined. In this case, if you bring your proof of insurance to your court date and it’s proven that you were indeed fully covered at the time of the offense, then you may be able to show your proof of insurance and pay just the court fees. For any serious traffic offenses, you should contact a lawyer in New Jersey.
Getting your license suspended can be an unfortunate life changing event. From the time you got your license as a teenager, you have enjoyed the freedom and mobility that a driver’s license has given you.
New Jersey has many reasons why they may suspend your license, but we will go over the 4 most popular offenses.
Points - In the state of New Jersey, for every moving violation a driver commits, they will receive points on their license. When the driver accumulates 12 or more points, their license will become suspended.
No Insurance – The state of New Jersey will suspend your license if you are caught driving without car insurance. New Jersey requires all motor vehicles to obtain insurance. You must also carry your proof of insurance with you at all times. Depending on the situation, you can also have your license suspended if you can’t provide proof of insurance at the time it is required.
Driving Under the Influence – If you are caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the state of New Jersey will suspend your license. The suspension time will vary depending on the severity of the situation and will also vary depending on whether this is a first time or repeat offense.
Driving With Suspended License - If you are caught driving with an already suspended license, then the state of New Jersey will increase the length of time of the suspension. Depending on the severity of the situation, the state of New Jersey can also charge imprisonment for up to 5 years. You can also have your license suspended if you are caught driving without your license.
Obtaining the best attorney in NJ is the smartest move you can make when you commit a crime that will lead to suspension of your license. Whether the suspension is due to no insurance or a DWI in NJ, Charles Block has the experience needed to get you the best results possible.
The first few months of the year, are prime-time months for police officers looking to make arrests against a person who has been involved in a DWI and DUI in Camden County and other areas of New Jersey. In this blog, I will provide you with a list of some easy-to-follow tips on how to avoid being in a situation where a police officer will suspect that you are under the influence of alcohol. Before even getting into this useful list, you must be found with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) level over 0.08%, in order to be charged with a DUI or DWI.
Now we can get into the mess of figuring out what penalties or fines a person can expect when he/she is found guilty and charged with a DUI or DWI, but with these tips, you won’t have to worry about that. Some of these tips may seem obvious, but then why do people still get arrested? These tips are focused on how to handle the pre-arrest situation. They will help you avoid having a police officer stop you in the first place.
Obey Traffic Laws by Driving Safe and Drinking Responsibly
I would encourage all drivers, not to drink AT ALL before operation a motor vehicle. However, since it is not illegal and you won’t be penalized unless the BAC limit is over 0.08%, I would encourage all drivers to drink responsibly. In there is ever a case where you have had one or two drinks and you had to drive home, do not give a police officer a reason to pull you over. This means obeying all traffic laws, such as driving under the speed limit and stopping at red lights and STOP signs.
The Police Officer Pulls You Over, Now What? Be Respectful
There are many times where a person is arrested for no other reason than giving the police offer a hard time, when he pulled him/her over. If a police officer is having a long, hard day, the last thing he wants is a driver to give him any sass. When stopped by the officer, it is not a wise decision to challenge him/her, or request to see the supervisor. A more effective strategy is to be respectful. Remember, they put their lives on the line every day, keeping the world safe and making it a better place. When asked a question, an officer will respond greatly to “yes sir, no sir” answers. Treating the officer with respect will go a long way and sometimes they will cut you a break. If you respond by being uncooperative, the officer will take that as a sign of intoxication or consciousness of guilt.
To Make the Experience Less Complicated, Put the Officer at Ease
There are many things you can do, as a passenger of a motor-vehiclist to keep the police officer at ease after he pulls you over. Again, these may seem like obvious tips, but you would be surprised by how many uncooperative drivers a police officer has to deal with each year. First, keep both hands on the steering-wheel, so the officer can see them. This way, he knows that you aren’t dangerous. Secondly, turn on the emergency lights and the interior lights, especially if you are pulled over at night. If the officer knows that he is safe and you are under control, it won’t be likely that he will begin asking you questions like, “Have you had anything to drink tonight?”
Always Have Your Driver’s License, Registration and Insurance in a Readily Accessible Place in the Car
A police officer can only proceed with breath-testing and making any charges when he has reasonable suspicion or probable cause. The court will look at the “totality of the circumstances,” in deciding whether the police officer had reasonable suspicion or probable cause. One of the first things a court will look at when factoring the totality of circumstances is if the driver had trouble finding any of his important documents including his/her driver’s license, registration and insurance. All drivers in New Jersey should have these documents in their cars at all times. If you are having trouble finding any of these, the officer will begin to look for reasons to suspect that you may have been drinking.
Do Not Tell the Officer That You Have Consumed Any Alcohol
You do not have to worry about this, unless you do not follow the tips listed above. However, if you choose to ignore those tips and become uncooperative as soon as a police officer pulls you over, he may ask you if you have consumed an alcohol. It is a personal decision that you have to make, whether or not to lie to the officer or admit that you are guilty. If the officer asks you that question, there is a good chance that he/she already suspects that you have been drinking. If you admit that you are guilty, then he can carry on with the investigation. If you lie, but the officer has enough suspicion to carry on with a breath test and the BAC level is above the limit, it will come back to haunt you.
Owning automobile insurance is probably the most important part of being a driver. Being a driver holds an incredible amount of responsibility, and it is up to that person to make sure they, their passengers, and others on the road are safe from vehicular harm. If an accident does happen to take place, it is the responsibility of those who are involved to have adequate auto insurance in order to legally and financially protect themselves.
Insurance Is The Law
Many states may require drivers, as well as their automobiles, to be insured. This protects other drivers from unsafe and financially dangerous situations. It is often the case that if an insured person is in an accident with an uninsured driver, the insured person may end up paying most of the damages, causing their insurance to go up in price. The state in which you live in and drive in probably requires that you carry a certain amount of car insurance on your vehicles. States will also mandate what type of car insurance is required. In some states, you only need liability, while other states may require more.
Every driver should understand that in many states if you are pulled over by the authorities and have no car insurance you run the risk of having your vehicle impounded on the spot. While in other states it is illegal for the police to allow you to continue driving once they know you do not have the proper automobile insurance. In addition to having your vehicle impounded you may also be charged with heavy fees and fines by the courts.
Insurance Offers Protection
Additional, reasons why owning auto insurance is so important is for financial, medical and personal protection. Auto insurance may cover such things as bodily injury, vehicular damage, and theft. It may also be able to help with payment of medical bills, to temporarily replace income, and to assist in financially repairing or replacing damaged automobiles. Now, if a person is an uninsured driver, and they are involved in an accident, they may find themselves in a financially compromising situation.
Certain criminal convictions are eligible for an expungement in New Jersey. In addition to determining the crimes which are eligible, it is equally important to determine the length of the waiting period from the date of your conviction to the date upon which you are eligible to file a petition for expungement You should have your criminal record expunged because background checks are now the norm. Many employers and educational institutions place a stigma on any person who has been arrested or convicted of a crime. It can also affect your employment opportunities, professional licensing boards and college applications. An expungement of your New Jersey record will prevent an employer from accessing your criminal record and allow you to lawfully answer “no” on an employment application.
Crimes which are Eligible for Expungement
In order to have your record cleared, you must first look at whether or not you are eligible to have the criminal conviction expunged.
Convictions for the following crimes are not eligible for expungement in New Jersey:
.Criminal Homicide (exception Vehicular Homicide)
.Luring or Enticing
.Aggravated Sexual Assault
.Criminal Sexual Contact if the victim is a minor
.Endangering the Welfare of a Child (if based on sexual contact or child pornography)
.Distribution of Controlled Dangerous Substance or Possession of Controlled Dangerous Substances with Intent to Distribute
.Motor vehicle violations, DWI or DUI.
Waiting Period for Expungements
The following information is general eligibility requirements for an expungement and the waiting periods for filing a petition for expungement in New Jersey.
TYPE OF CONVICTION AND TIME ELAPSED SINCE CONVICTION
Indictable two or more convictions – 10 years waiting period from completion of sentence
Disorderly Persons (up to 3 disorderly) – 5 years waiting period from completion of sentence
Petty Disorderly Persons – 5 years waiting period from completion of sentence
Municipal Ordinances – 2 years waiting period from completion of sentence
Juvenile Delinquency – 5 years waiting period from completion of supervision
Possession of CDS <21 years of age – 1 year period from completion of sentence
Arrests not resulting in Convictions – Immediately
Conditional Discharges/Pretrial Invention – 6 months
Length of Time Before Expungement is Complete
The expungement motion should be scheduled for 30 to 60 days from the filing of the expungement petition. Keep in mind that each county is slightly different as far as the time it takes to get your case listed on the expungement calendar.
Information Needed to Get Started
In order for an attorney to file your New Jersey expungement petition, specific information about the offense must be obtained. Such as summons or complaint number, arresting agency, criminal charge and corresponding statutory number, arrest date, and disposition. Without this information, the expungement cannot be appropriately filed or granted.
Reckless driving is defined as a moving violation in which a driver displays a disregard for the rules of the road. In essence, reckless drivers put themselves and others at risk, and they often involve more than one traffic violation. Reckless driving offenders are punished by fines, jail time, and/or driver’s license suspension or revocation.
Disregard for the safety of people or property is a common element in reckless driving car accidents. Reckless driving acts include, but are not limited to, the following situations:
.Causing an automobile accident
.Running red lights
.Running stop signs
.Drinking and driving
.Driving under the influence of drugs
.Driving without headlights
High Rate of Speeding
While speeding alone isn’t usually considered reckless driving, an extremely high rate of speed might lead an officer to charge someone with reckless driving.
Alcohol and Drugs Also Lead to Reckless Driving
Everyone that gets behind the wheel knowing that they are drunk or impaired are by definition reckless drivers. According to the courts, reckless driving and DUI offenses are separate crimes, and drivers may sometimes be charged with both crimes.
Most car accidents can be prevented by following these simple tips:
.Always wear a seatbelt
.Avoid distractions caused by passengers, cell phones, food, or loud music
.Obey all traffic signs
.And try not to drive when tired.
Not every automobile accident can be prevented, but you can control whether or not you cause a serious car crash.
The penalties for Reckless Driving in New Jersey are as follows:
.Jail of up to 2 Months (3 months for a 2nd offense)
.Fines of 50-$200. (Up to $500 for a Second Offense)
.5 Points on your Driving Record
The penalties for Careless Driving are:
.2 Points on your Driving Record
Driving without insurance varies from state to state—and so do the penalties imposed. You may have your car registration suspended as well as your driver’s license. Whether or not you did not get around to paying your insurance (or are looking for cheaper rates) and your insurance lapses, operating your car without insurance is a hazard.
If you get in an accident and you have no insurance, your assets may be at risk since you will be held responsible for the damages caused. Also, if you get caught driving without a registration the penalties are usually tougher because you could have caused an accident in which you were
Driving in New Jersey without auto insurance or not being able to show proof of auto insurance when requested is a serious offense carrying severe penalties. According to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission a citation for driving uninsured puts you at risk of economic loss, fines,
suspension of driver’s license or registration, community service, surcharges, and time in jail.
The New Jersey statutes state that every owner or registered owner of a motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in the state of New Jersey shall maintain motor vehicle coverage, under provisions approved by the Commissioner of Insurance.
A first time violation of driving without liability insurance includes a fine of at least $300 and up to $1000, community service, DMV surcharges of $250 for 3 years, and the loss of your license for up to one year. In addition to court costs and fees.
A second time offense comes with a fine up to $5000, a mandatory jail sentence of 14 days, 30 days community service and a license suspension for 2 years or more. State laws and statutes are always being changed and updated, so it is important to contact the courts to find out what the exact penalties are for driving uninsured.
Remember that you are breaking the law if you drive without the proper auto insurance.