Are Criminal Traffic Charges Serious?
A traffic violation is an offense for which one is usually ticketed, or in some circumstances, asked to appear before the relevant traffic court before being assessed a fine or community service time. However, there exists another category of traffic-related offenses, and in these cases, actual criminal charges may be assessed. It is of critical importance to understand the difference, lest one underestimate or misunderstand the potential consequences of conviction. A traffic ticket attorney New Jersey residents trust can answer your specific questions. In the meantime, the following is an overview of traffic violation charges.
Traffic Violations Are Not Criminal
When one is assessed a standard traffic violation for an offense such as running a stop sign, it is not a crime, despite the nomenclature often used that can sound as if it would be. Traffic violations of this nature are civil infractions, which may carry fines or points on one’s driving record, but there are no jail sentences handed down for these infractions. Since they are not crimes, they also can generally not be expunged or erased if they are admitted (and/or their fines are paid). If a person is ticketed for a traffic violation, it can usually be handled on one afternoon in traffic court, with the assistance of a traffic ticket attorney New Jersey drivers count on.
This does not, however, mean that traffic violations should be treated lightly. Enough points on one’s driver’s license can cause the suspension or revocation of one’s license, after which it is a decidedly uphill battle to have it reinstated. The entire purpose of traffic violations is to warn the public about behaviors they may not believe to be dangerous, and to punish appropriately when the behavior does not cease.
Other infractions, such as leaving the scene of an accident, reckless driving, drag racing, or fleeing/eluding the police, are far more serious. These offenses, while related to traffic infractions, are classified as criminal because of the potential to harm others and cause significant property damage. These offenses generally carry anywhere from a few months to years in jail, along with fines in the thousands of dollars. While some protest the over-application of jail time, ostensibly to the exclusion of all else, judges do have discretion to impose a lesser sentence if they believe it will be sufficient.
Be advised, however, that the law is constantly changing, and sometimes a crime may be a crime that the public is largely unaware of. For example, if a person is pulled over doing 40 mph over the speed limit, this used to be a petty offense – but many states have changed it to a criminal offense called aggravated speeding. While receiving jail time for this is quite rare, it is nonetheless a possibility, with up to 364 days in jail available as a misdemeanor. Having a traffic ticket attorney in New Jersey on one’s side who is knowledgeable about traffic laws can often prove quite fortuitous.
Seek Legal Help from a New Jersey Traffic Ticket Attorney
Traffic violations are not a joke, and criminal traffic offenses can be extremely serious, costing those charged with them time, money, and considerable peace of mind. Each traffic ticket attorney New Jersey clients recommend from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. is well versed in this tricky, ever-evolving area of law, and are available to try to assist. Contact our office today to see how we can help.
Is a reckless driving charge serious?
A traffic ticket attorney New Jersey locals recommend from Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. can help you if you have been charged with reckless driving. Reckless driving is considered a criminal offense in most states rather a traffic or moving violation. This means that when a person drives at a speed or in a manner that endangers the life, limb, or property of any person, he or she could be charged with reckless driving. Although there are actions that constitute reckless driving, it will be up to the police officer to decide whether or not they will cite you.
If you have been charged with reckless driving you should consider consulting a traffic ticket attorney in New Jersey for legal guidance. Reckless driving charges are not to be taken lightly as a conviction can impact your life for many years. To speak with a traffic ticket attorney New Jersey motorists turn to, call us today.
Isn’t reckless driving the same as speeding?
Every state has its own definition of speeding; this also pertains to any potential consequences. Speeding is a traffic infraction whereas reckless driving is a criminal offense. For example, if you are driving 15 mph over the speed limit you may be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. By contrast, reckless driving is usually a misdemeanor criminal offense. The notable difference between the two is that the later may come with a permanent, public criminal record and jail time. This is why it is important to hire a traffic ticket attorney New Jersey residents choose from our firm who may be able to avoid these serious consequences.
Behaviors or actions that constitute reckless driving may include:
- Driving a vehicle despite knowing it has faulty brakes
- Driving an overloaded vehicle
- Driving a vehicle that obstructs controls or views
- Driving beside a vehicle in one lane
- Failing to signal
- Driving too fast for current conditions
- Driving over 20 mph in excess of the posted speed limit
- Failing to stop or yield the right of way
- Driving to intimidate
- Endangering a person or property on a road, parking lot, sidewalk, or public area
- Burning tires
- Illegal passing such as passing two vehicles at once or at a railroad crossing
- Not stopping for a school bus
The above list is not exhaustive. For a comprehensive case evaluation and to learn more about reckless driving, please call Rispoli & Borneo, P.C. at (908) 353-0800 and request a free consultation with a New Jersey traffic ticket attorney.
Benefits of Working with Rispoli & Borneo, P.C.
For nearly two decades, our reckless driving lawyers have helped people fight traffic charges. We are confident in our ability to adequately defend every type of reckless driving case. When you work with us, we may:
- Examine your arrest record and circumstances to look for violations or defects
- Analyze any legal documents
- Review whether or not you were property charged
- Review the operating procedures that were used during your ticketing or arrest
- Determine what defenses could be used
- Assess whether or not there are any opportunities for a dismissal
- Go over your legal rights and options
- Negotiate with the prosecutor or judge
- Prepare your case to go to trial
- Aggressively fight for you