Jersey City Careless Driving Lawyer
New Jersey traffic laws can be complex. There are so many offenses that can lead to charges, including DWI, reckless driving, and even a separate traffic offense for careless driving. If you have been accused of careless driving, it is crucial to understand what prosecutors must prove to establish a careless driving offense and the penalties you could face if convicted. In some cases, you may even be given a ticket for careless driving in addition to DWI or reckless driving charges. Still, in other cases, careless driving offenses can arise in connection with a car accident. If you are facing a careless driving violation and any other criminal or traffic charges in New Jersey, the attorneys at our defense firm can help. We are dedicated to always seeking the best possible outcome for our clients in each and every case. With local offices in Jersey City, we defend those facing charges in all Hudson County areas and the surrounding New Jersey region. Contact us at (201) 793-8018 to receive a free consultation about your case today.
Careless Driving Offense: N.J.S.A. 39:4-97
To be guilty of careless driving in New Jersey, a person must drive without due caution in a manner that endangered, or was likely to endanger, another person or property. The careless driving statute, N.J.S.A. 39:4-97, covers an extraordinarily range of driving behaviors not already prohibited by other New Jersey traffic laws.
What is the Sentence for Careless Driving in New Jersey?
The penalties for careless driving in New Jersey can be steep. You can face fines between $50-$250 dollars. You can also receive 2 points on your license, increasing your risk of a driver’s license suspension. You may also have to pay additional court costs and surcharges, and you will likely see an increase in your auto insurance rates following your conviction. If you are convicted of careless driving under particularly severe or dangerous circumstances, you can even face up to 15 days in jail. Careless driving is a traffic offense, so a conviction goes on your driving record, not your criminal record.
What is the Difference Between Careless Driving and Reckless Driving in NJ?
Careless driving is a step down in severity from the distinct charge of reckless driving. New Jersey’s reckless driving statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-96) prohibits driving a vehicle heedlessly, or with willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others. You must also drive in a way that endangers, or is likely to endanger, a person or property to be guilty of reckless driving. Importantly, reckless driving differs from careless driving in its treatment of the defendant’s intent while driving. Careless driving does not require the prosecution to prove that you had a willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others. Reckless driving does. This means that the prosecution must put on additional proof of your dangerous and irresponsible conduct and intent to convict you of reckless driving.
Reckless driving also carries more severe penalties than careless driving. For reckless driving, you face fines ranging from $50 to $200 for a first offense, 5 points on their drivers license, up to 60 days in jail, and license suspension between 1 and 90 days if a judge determines that you are a particular danger to other drivers on the road. Penalties increase for a second conviction, carrying up to 3 months in jail, suspension of your driver’s license for up to 6 months, and a fine ranging from $100 to $500.
Charged with Careless Driving and DWI in New Jersey
If you are initially stopped for careless driving, and the officer suspects you of driving while intoxicated, you may be charged with an even more severe offense for DWI. In these circumstances, you need a skilled attorney who can challenge the evidence in your DWI case, whether that means arguing that it should be excluded on Fourth Amendment grounds, or based on a faulty breath test establishing your BAC. The goal is to see if there is something to use to get your DWI charge dismissed, in which case you may simply face a careless driving charge. Of course, not every case has evidentiary issues, but you should speak with an attorney who can examine your specific case and discuss the best strategy to handle a careless driving and/or DWI charge.
Hoboken NJ Careless Driving Defense Attorneys Can Help
If you or a loved one has been charged with careless driving in Hudson County or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact the seasoned defense lawyers at our firm to learn more about how you can mount an effective defense. We encourage you to call (201) 793-8018 to discuss the facts of your case with a knowledgeable criminal and traffic defense attorney at our firm now. You can also contact us online for a free consultation.