Reckless Driving in New Jersey
October 18, 2018
Disregarding traffic rules and ignoring the safety of other drivers or pedestrians is dangerous driving behavior that can lead to charges of a moving violation such as reckless driving.
Some of the most common types of reckless driving charges result from:
- Speeding at excessive speeds, including racing against other vehicles
- Failing to obey traffic signals including red lights, stop signs, or yield signs
- Failing to follow traffic “right of way” laws such as intentionally failing to yield to pedestrians, bicyclists or other vehicles
- Intentionally evading law enforcement
- Failing to follow “passing” laws, including passing over double yellow lines or passing stopped school buses
- Engaging in certain distracted driving behaviors, such as texting while driving
Even driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be a violation of reckless driving statutes as well as New Jersey’s DUI/DWI laws.
Reckless vs Careless Driving
Under New Jersey law, drivers who engage in these behaviors may violate two separate, but similar traffic statutes related to “reckless” driving and “careless” driving. Unlike careless driving, which involves driving “without due caution and circumspection,” reckless driving includes the element of intent. Reckless driving, as defined by New Jersey Statute Annotated 39:4-96, is the more serious traffic violation and requires that the driver willfully or wantonly disregard the safety of others.
Punishments Faced by Reckless Drivers
Drivers found guilty of reckless driving in New Jersey face much more serious punishment than those found guilty of careless driving. Penalties for a first-time reckless driving conviction include up to 60 days imprisonment, monetary fines up to $200.00, and the addition of five points to the driver’s New Jersey driving record. The addition of these penalty points can result in additional fines and the suspension of a license if the points total 12 or more.
Subsequent reckless driving convictions can result in up to three months imprisonment and larger fines up to $500.00. In more extreme cases, a driver convicted of reckless driving may also have their license suspended, even when the driver’s record’s points total less than 12.
Reckless Driving and Insurance
Since all insurance companies take into account the amount of points on a driver’s record, a person convicted of reckless driving will also face higher insurance rates. In certain cases, a driver may only be able to purchase the required insurance from the New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan (NJPAIP) at a much higher rate than through private insurance companies.
Drivers convicted of reckless driving may need to attend a defensive driving course (also known as “traffic school”) in order to lower their insurance premiums and/or offset points added to driver records.
Haddon Heights Criminal Defense Lawyer at The Law Office of Thomas J. Gossé Defends Those Accused of Reckless Driving
If you have been charged with reckless or careless driving in New Jersey, a Haddon Heights criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Thomas J. Gossé has the necessary experience to defend your case. Complete our online form or call 856-546-6600 immediately to schedule a free, confidential initial consultation. This office represents clients throughout the South Jersey area, including Camden County, Cherry Hill, Moorestown, Haddonfield.