Careless Driving

I recently defended an individual charged with careless driving in a local New Jersey Municipal Court. My client had been involved in an accident (he rear ended another car). The Police did not witness the accident, and did not issue a ticket at the scene. Rather, the police waited one week to issue/mail the ticket to my client.

The fact that one is involved in a rear end collision does not necessarily mean that a careless driving charge is appropriate.  If charged with this offense, you should contact a traffic offense lawyer that appears regularly in the court your case will be heard in. The elements of New Jersey careless driving are as follows:

  • Operation of a motor vehicle
  • careless or without due care operation. This element is measured against what a reasonably prudent person would have done confronted with similar circumstances.
  • endangering person or property, or likely to have done so.

The possible penalties for careless driving under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97  in NJ are as follows:

  • Fine between $50 and $200
  • 2 motor vehicle points
  • 2 insurance eligibility points
  • possible jail time up to 15 days

In my particular case, the officer who issued the ticket did not witness the accident. In careless driving cases, res ipsa loquitur does not apply. See State v. Wenzel. This means that an officer who does not witness an act of alleged careless driving cannot issue a ticket just because it appears you did something wrong. In the case of an accident, the officer may issue a carless driving ticket based upon the statements of the involved. In other words, unless the State is able to produce a witness at the time of trial, they will have a very hard time proving the case if the officer did not see the act himself.

In my case,  I was able to get the careless driving summons dismissed. As a NJ traffic ticket lawyer who has handled hundreds of these cases, I knew the appropriate steps to take, including having the case marked appropriately so the State did not have the opportunity to reschedule the case to secure the presence of the witness. This is just one example of how I have been able to win careless driving cases time and time again.

You may notice that the statute itself is rather vague as to the necessary conduct for an offense under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97. This provides municipal court defense attorneys with plenty of ammo for trial victories.

If you have been charged with careless driving in NJ, contact the Law Office of Todd Palumbo. There is no substitute for a informed an involved lawyer who looks to win every case. I can help you fight your careless driving violation or any traffic offense you may be facing.

Serving Newark, Jersey City, Irvington, West Orange, Fairfield, Maplewood, Weehawken, Union City, Essex County, Hudson County, South Orange, Cedar Grove, Verona, Montclair, Bloomfield, etc.
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