How Traffic Charges & Criminal Charges Differ

NJ Traffic LawyersIn New Jersey, when a ticket is issued for a moving violation or some other vehicle-related infraction, it is generally a traffic summons. Even a DUI (driving under the influence) in which the driver is charged with having used or is suspected of having used alcohol, drugs or some other scheduled substance is considered a traffic violation. There are instances, however, when traffic infractions can be treated very seriously and the accused person will face significant fines, points placed on the person’s driver’s license, the suspension of the driver’s license and possibly even jail time.

Moving and Non-Moving Violations

For many moving or non-moving traffic violations, the recipient of the ticket will simply pay the fine to be done with it and there won’t be any long-term problems. This is, in effect, pleading guilty to the charge. Whether it’s as innocuous as parking next to a fire hydrant or committing an act frowned upon such as a DUI, it is still recorded as a guilty plea. If the driver chooses to dispute vehicle-related infractions, they will be heard in the municipal court governing the town in which the offense occurred.

A moving violation is the responsibility of the driver regardless of whom the car is registered to. A non-moving violation is technically the responsibility of the registrant of the car because that is where the ticket will automatically be sent in order to receive payment for the fine.

The NJ Traffic Points System

The points system punishes drivers depending on the illegal act. If, for example, the driver goes through a stop sign in New Jersey and is found or pleads guilty, there will be 2 points added to the driver’s license. If a driver accumulates 12 or more points, the driver’s license will be suspended.

Traffic Violations

Despite its public stigma, even a DWI is considered a traffic offense. However, it can still lead to the loss of one’s license, hefty fines and jail time. Other serious traffic charges in New Jersey include speeding, reckless driving, driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, and leaving the scene of an accident. If the driver doesn’t appear in court to address one of these charges, the problem can evolve into something substantial and eventually very costly both financially and personally. A warrant can be issued for the person’s arrest for failure to appear.

Indictable crimes (commonly called felonies in other states) are far more serious with major penalties attached to them. A traffic offense can constitute a criminal act in instances of vehicular manslaughter; vehicular homicide; committing a hit and run or leaving the scene of an accident. These charges will be heard by the appropriate New Jersey Superior Court.

Speak to an Experienced New Jersey Lawyer

There are differences between criminal charges and traffic charges in New Jersey. That is why it is necessary to speak to a qualified attorney experienced with both criminal defense and traffic violations.  The lawyers at Villani & DeLuca in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey have experience in both areas and can discuss your case with you today.

If you have been charged with a traffic violation and are unsure as to what should be done next, it’s worthwhile to consult an attorney to protect yourself. The attorneys at Villani & DeLuca represent clients throughout Monmouth County and Ocean County and offer consultations at no charge.  Call today!

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