Anatomy of a NJ Traffic Ticket

Author: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq. | Last Updated:

New Jersey traffic tickets are no joke. Those who pay a ticket in NJ can be hit with fines, points, surcharges and more. There is a lot of information on an NJ ticket, and understanding what is on the ticket is key to avoiding the most egregious consequences. 

On the top of the ticket are a series of numbers, including the court ID, a prefix and the ticket number. When the driver appears in court, the ticket number is used to reference the specific charge and traffic stop. In addition, this information can be used to look up information about the ticket online through the NJ courts website.

The section below contains the driver’s identifying information. Despite what some may advise on the internet, a mistake here (e.g. a misspelled name or wrong birthdate) does not necessarily offer leverage to get a ticket dismissed. So long as the officer can reasonably prove that the defendant in court as the driver of the vehicle, the ticket will stand. 

Below is the information identifying the vehicle driven at the time of the alleged offense. Again, mistakes here (e.g. calling the color of the car brown instead of tan or a slight error on the license plate number) are not likely to get a ticket dismissed. This section will also indicate if the vehicle was a commercial vehicle, HAZMAT truck, or if the vehicle is not street legal for any reason. 

This part contains the details of the alleged offense, including the specific statute in question, as well as the time and date it occurred. On a NJ ticket, the officer may check a box indicating certain aggravating factors, such as the offense taking place in a work zone, or whether it was issued in connection to an accident.

It is here, in the details of the offense, that any chance of beating a NJ traffic ticket lies. To get a NJ ticket dismissed, one must challenge the facts of the offense or the legality of the traffic stop itself. For example, in the sample ticket being used, the driver was charged with careless driving. The burden first falls on the officer to articulate how the driver was being “careless”: i.e. was he speeding, swerving, not slowing down for pedestrians, etc.? How was the driver’s behavior/actions putting others at risk? It is the role of the driver in court (or his/her attorney) to question the officer so as to find flaws in his/her judgment or assessment of the situation. This is very difficult for the average person, but with the help of an experienced NJ traffic ticket attorney, one can be successful. 

Below the charge is the section showing where the offense took place. It is followed by the signature of the officer certifying his/her account of events. 

This section contains details on how to enter a guilty plea which will result in a fine. Unless the ticket is marked “Court Appearance Required” and/or contains a court date, drivers can pay the fine online or by mail, but this is not recommended. Paying a traffic fine can incur much more than it seems at first glance (see below). For those who wish to plead not guilty and fight the ticket, they must do so at least 7 days prior to the scheduled payment date. 

The date by which one must either pay the ticket is listed here along with the fine, should the driver decide to pay. There are two important things a driver must know about this section:

  1. The fine listed is often lower than the actual fine for the offense. For example, in the sample ticket, the fine is $85 for a charge of careless driving, which is normally $200. The courts allow this in order to encourage drivers to pay the ticket rather than the fight the ticket in court. However, while this may seem like a discount, it is anything but. Paying an NJ traffic ticket can bring about many other consequences, such as additional surcharges (due to points), an increase in auto insurance rates, and a possible suspension of the license. Overall, a driver who pays an NJ traffic ticket is likely to pay hundreds of dollars more in the long run than they would if they hired an attorney to beat the ticket.
  2. The date by which one must pay or plead not guilty is very short. The sample ticket shows the driver was pulled over on August 17 and the deadline is August 31—just 14 days! As such, a driver ticketed in NJ should contact an attorney right away to determine the best course of action.

 

An NJ traffic ticket primarily acts as a summons to bring the driver to court. New Jersey does everything possible to discourage drivers from fighting traffic tickets, including reducing the fine should they pay it right away, giving little time to consider the options, and forcing nearly all drivers to appear in court even if he/she hires an attorney. Despite this, drivers are strongly urged to challenge any and every NJ traffic ticket in order to avoid the most serious consequences of a conviction. 

If you or someone you love has been ticketed for a traffic offense in New Jersey, contact the attorneys at Rosenblum Law. Our experienced traffic ticket lawyers can offer expert advice and develop a defense strategy based on the facts with the best chance of mitigating or eliminating the fines, points, and other consequences. Email Rosenblum Law or call 888-815-3694 today for a free consultation about your case.