In New Jersey, one of the most common legal issues is an alleged traffic violation. This can affect anyone at any time, from the most law abiding citizen to a career criminal. But the problems that can result due to a traffic violation can evolve and grow to be very serious, expensive and time consuming.
Like most non-violent legal offenses, there is a statute of limitations (SOL) for a traffic violation, in which the authorities must file the summons within a specific period or it is null and void due to expiration of the required time frame. The statute of limitations for most traffic violations is 30 days, but there are exceptions to this rule.
NJ Traffic Violations with Longer Statutes of Limitations
Some traffic offenses are more dangerous than others and, in an effort to discourage people from flouting the law, New Jersey has different statutes of limitations depending on the infraction. Below are some examples with the number of days before the appropriate statute of limitations expires.
The statute of limitations on a summons for drunk driving, driving a CDL vehicle while intoxicated (CDL DWI), boating DWI, and what is known as a “refusal” in all of these instances is 90 days. Refusal means that the operator of the vehicle—be it an automobile, a CDL vehicle, or a boat—declines to submit to a breathalyzer to test whether or not they're operating the motor vehicle under the influence. In such a case, the individual will be detained and taken to a hospital where the staff may draw blood to test for the presence of an intoxicating or illegal substance. Also falling into the category of 90 days are driving with a revoked license or passing a school bus. A revoked license means that the individual cannot legally operate a motor vehicle. There is no excuse such as it was an emergency or “I had to get to work,” or any other reason. When a license is revoked that means the person cannot legally drive. Passing a school bus with its red lights flashing and the “STOP” sign extended is not only illegal, but it is dangerous to the riders of the bus, many times the riders are children. Breaking either traffic law results in a summons with a 90 day statute of limitations for the case to be filed.
An infraction that has a 6 month statute of limitations is operating a motor vehicle without insurance. Insurance is required for any motor vehicle being operated in New Jersey. Driving without insurance is a crime and if an unexpected accident occurs, the individual driving the vehicle will face criminal charges as well as opening themselves up to the possibility of a civil suit.
The following infractions result in a summons and a 1 year statute of limitations: securing a license illegally, filing a false license application and filing a fictitious license application. All of these are self-explanatory and very serious. A driver's license is a government issued permit which is used to identify a person. If the information is inaccurate, false or obtained illegally, any number of things such as insurance fraud could occur. These types of crimes can follow a person around for a long time and result in legitimate, long-lasting charges.
Another infraction that results in a 1 year statute of limitations is leaving the scene of an accident. When an accident occurs when operating a motor vehicle, it's natural to be afraid of the consequences. Even if it is the driver's fault or he or she thinks they're at fault and believes they'll get into trouble, the problem will be made worse by fleeing the scene. The police are going to find the person who was operating the vehicle involved in an accident if that person chooses to leave prior to police arrival, making the consequences worse. Leaving the scene can result in severe penalties.
Contact an Experienced NJ Traffic Court Attorney
No matter what the charges, it is important for every person who has received a traffic summons to have qualified legal representation. The law offices of Villani & DeLuca located in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey are experienced lawyers who can help you with your case.
If you or a loved one made the mistake of committing any of the above-described traffic infractions, the aftermath can be very expensive and lead to long-term problems. You may or may not have committed the traffic offense you were charged with. In either case, it's imperative that you find the right lawyer to help you. Throughout New Jersey, in Monmouth County and Ocean County, to the towns of Brick, Red Bank, Belmar and anywhere else, Villani & DeLuca are here to help you.