Traffic Tickets Can Have A Serious Impact On Your Driving Privileges
- I got a traffic ticket. Can I just pay it or do I have to go to court?
To determine if you must go to court, look at your traffic ticket. Three-quarters of the way down, there is a line that looks like this:
COURT APPEARANCE COURT: Time a.m. REQUIRED DATE Hour p.m.
If the box is NOT checked off, you are not required to go to court, so long as you pay the appropriate fine by the date set forth on this line of the ticket. If you wish to contest the ticket, however, you must notify the court prior to the date on the traffic ticket. If the box is checked off, you are required to go to court on the date on this line of the traffic ticket. You cannot resolve your case by paying a fine prior to the court date.
- Am I admitting that I am guilty if I pay the fine on my traffic ticket and do not go to court? Yes.
- I got a traffic ticket that carries points. Who issues the points: the municipal court or the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission?
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission issues the points (if appropriate) upon review of the disposition of your case from the municipal court. The municipal court has no authority regarding issuing points.
- I think I am probably guilty of the traffic offense that I am charged with. Should I just plead guilty and get it over with? There are some instances where pleading guilty may be appropriate. However, there are several factors to consider. First, there may be defenses to the traffic offense with which you have been charged. If you can avail yourself of one of these defenses, you may not be guilty of the traffic offense and not even realize it. A lawyer can advise you of the defenses available to you, based upon the law and the facts of your case. Further, even if you plead guilty or are found guilty of a traffic offense, a lawyer may be able to make arguments at sentencing to achieve a more favorable result. Second, while some traffic offenses are relatively minor, others are more serious and can result in more severe consequences. You should determine the ramifications of pleading guilty to the traffic offense you are charged with before deciding to plead guilty. Third, in most instances, plea bargaining is permitted in municipal court (with the exception, for example, of DWI cases). If you plead guilty immediately at your first appearance, however, you will lose the opportunity to attempt to plea bargain the charge to a less serious offense.
- I received a notice of proposed suspension from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Can I appeal it? Yes. You can file a written appeal of the notice of proposed suspension. The notice contains the time frame by which the appeal must be filed and where to send the appeal paperwork. If the appeal is accepted, a hearing is scheduled to review the proposed administrative suspension. Generally, the driver’s license is not suspended pending the hearing. However, you should always contact the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to confirm the status of your appeal by the date of the proposed suspension to make sure that your driver’s license has not been suspended prior to driving.
Do you still have more questions? To schedule a free in-person or telephone consultation, call the law office of Carol H. Gold, Esquire, L.L.C., at 609-534-2778. Our Lumberton attorney handles all traffic and municipal court quasi-criminal matters.