Have you ever wondered about how to plead “Not Guilty” for traffic violations in New Jersey?
Just like anywhere else in the world, there are traffic laws in the state of New Jersey in the United States of America, which if not obeyed, can fetch you fines and other legal troubles.
Even though there are several laws laid down by the New Jersey local government regarding traffic violations, one of the key points that all New Jersey residents must keep in mind is that the violations are contestable.
The term “contestable” means that if you feel that the violation that you’re charged with is a false one or unfair, then you can contest the violation charged on you by the authorities before the court.
Why Should You Plead “Not Guilty” for Traffic Violations in NJ?
Yes, the state of NJ (New Jersey) does offer you a legal right to contest any traffic violation charged on you before the court of law.
But, why would you need to contest the traffic violation charges?
Well, the easiest answer to the above question would be to clear your records.
Traffic violations, depending on the severity of the committed violation, can fetch you fines, penalty points, and even jail time.
In case of serious or repeated violations, the authorities may even decide to suspend or terminate your driver’s license. Therefore, to avoid any such harsh actions from the authorities, it is essential that you contest unfair traffic violations, provided that you have valid and truthful reasons to justify them.
Do You Need an Attorney to Plead “Not Guilty” for Traffic Violations in New Jersey?
It is not necessary for having an attorney to present a case of “not guilty” against traffic offences in the state of New Jersey.
If you’re trying to plead “not guilty” against less-serious traffic offences and if you have truthful and valid proofs and justifications to present your case in court, then you don’t have to hire an attorney.
Below are a few examples of what might be considered a less-serious traffic offence:
- Failing to keep right on the road.
- Driving in a no-pass zone.
- Driving carelessly.
- Backing improperly.
- Crossing the speed limit.
- Tailing the vehicle in front too closely.
- Failing to pave way for an emergency vehicle.
- Overtaking vehicles improperly.
- Performing a “U-Turn” improperly.
- Failing to maintain lane discipline.
- Overtaking a school bus haphazardly.
- Refusing to stop in designated areas.
- Failing to signal a turn.
On the other hand, it is essential that you hire a good attorney if you’re trying to plead “not guilty” for serious offences. If you fail to win the “not guilty” claim for serious traffic violations, then you may receive serious punishments such as huge fines, jail time, suspension/termination of driver’s license, etc.
- Drunken driving.
- Driving while the license is suspended/terminated.
- Using the phone while driving.
- Refusing to take a breath test.
- Driving recklessly.
- Trying to escape an accident scene.
- Crossing the speed limit by 15+ miles.
- Driving an uninsured vehicle.
How to Defend Against Traffic Tickets in New Jersey Municipal Court?
To plead “not guilty” against a traffic ticket in NJ, you can contact the NJ municipal court within 3 days of receiving the violation ticket.
As we mentioned above, you can choose to hire a traffic ticket attorney or present the case yourself depending on the proofs you have to prove your innocence and also based on how serious the violation is.
Once you approach the New Jersey municipal court, then a date for the hearing will be scheduled on which you need to appear before the court and present your case.
After hearing the state’s part as well as your justification of the violation and accessing the submitted proofs, the court will reach a verdict about whether you’re indeed guilty or left free from the violation.
If you’re sure that you indeed have committed the violation, then it is best to consult a lawyer and plead guilty so that there is a positive consideration on the punishment.
Below are examples of traffic violations that will be considered serious offences:
Below are a few points to keep in mind while defending against a traffic ticket in New Jersey:
- You’ll have to appear multiple times in court before a verdict is reached for the case.
- If you’ve committed a serious offence and you are not in a position to hire a traffic violation lawyer, then you will be assigned a public attorney to help you with the case.
- Proofs are all that matters in the court. So make sure to collect and organize all the proofs you have to win the case before appearing in court.
What Are the Consequences of Municipal Court Verdict for Traffic Violations in NJ?
Below we have highlighted some of the consequences you may face depending on whether the court verdict for your “not guilty” plea is positive or negative.
What Happens for Positive Traffic Offense “Not Guilty” Ruling?
- The violation charges upon you will be dropped entirely.
- You won’t be asked to pay any fines.
- No penalty points will be added to your driver’s license.
- Any prior verdicts against you will be dropped.
What Happens if You Lose “Not Guilty” Plea for Traffic Violation?
- Negative points can get added to your driver’s license.
- You may be asked to pay fines for the committed violation.
- There can also be sentencing for jail time.
- The person who committed the violation can be asked to enrol in the “New Jersey Impaired Driving Facility”.
- Suspension/termination of the driver’s license.
How to Appeal for New Jersey Traffic Ticket Municipal Court Verdict?
Even after the court ruling stating the ticket/violation against you holds true, you can still fight your case by appealing the ruling from the NJ Municipal Court.
Below are the steps to appeal a Municipal Court ruling for traffic ticket/violation.
- Fill the Notice of Municipal Court Appeal form, also known as “Form A”.
- You also need to fill “Form B”, which is the “Transcript Request” form from the Municipal Court.
- You need to mail or physically present the “Form A” within 20 days (inclusive of holidays and weekends) to the court that made the ruling against you to consider the appeal request.
- A copy of “Form A” also needs to be submitted to a prosecutor within the first 5 days of presenting/mailing “Form A” in the court.
- After your “Form A” is submitted successfully, you need to fill the “Form C” for “Certification of Timely Filing”.
- Lastly, you also have to send a copy of the “Form A” along with the original “Form C” to the “Criminal Division Manager” at a superior court within 5 days of sending the “Form A” to the court that made the initial verdict.
When you file the appeal notice, you also have to pay $100 as a fee for the appealing process. The payment can be made as a money order or cheque that is payable to “The New Jersey Treasurer at the Criminal Division Manager’s Office”.
In case you are not able to afford the $100 fee, you can request the Municipal Court or Superior Court staff to help you with the proceedings to waive the fee.
We hope the above article gave you a clear picture of how to plead “not guilty” for traffic tickets or violations in New Jersey.
In case you have any queries about how to defend traffic tickets in NJ or how to appeal against NJ traffic ticket court ruling, then leave your questions as a comment below and we will guide you through. If you still have to pay the tickets you can use our guide of NJMCdirect