Reckless Driving New Jersey

If you have been issued a ticket for reckless driving in NJ, it is important that you understand the harsh consequences that could result if convicted. In addition to five motor vehicle point and insurance eligibility points, there is the possibility of jail and high fines.

Moreover, reckless driving is a enhanceable offense, meaning if you are convicted of reckless driving in New Jersey on more than one occasion, you could face up to three months in jail. If issued a ticket for this serious traffic offense in NJ, contact a traffic ticket attorney and municipal court lawyer who knows how to handle this type of charge.

The section that follows is an excerpt from the Reckless driving statute and some case law snippets that give a brief explination of the type of conduct that may constitute an offense under N.J.S.A. 39:4-96:

39:4-96. A person who drives a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of reckless driving and be punished by imprisonment in the county or municipal jail for a period of not more than 60 days, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 or more than $200.00, or both.

On a second or subsequent conviction he shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three months, or by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500, or both.

Please take a moment to read some of the case synopsis below which may provide a better understanding as to the meaning of such words as “wanton” and “willful.”

In  State v. Willhite, 40 N.J.Super. 405, 123 A.2d 237 (Co.1956), the court held that driving a car through the main business area of a town at a high rate of speed is reckless driving.

The court in State v. Roenicke, 174 N.J.Super. 513, 417 A.2d 54 (L.1980), held that reckless driving, at its core, is grossly improper operation that threatens others.

In State v. Willhite, 40 N.J.Super. 405, 123 A.2d 237 (Co.1956), the court held that speed is not the determining factor when deciding if a motorist acted recklessly.

In other words, the State must prove that your conduct fell far below what would be considered adequate. Put another way, your actions must have been inexplicably and grossly unsafe.

This is not an easy burden for the State to meet, and depending upon the facts of your particular case, there may be many available defenses to a charge of reckless driving.

I have defended many individuals charged with the offense of reckless driving and have obtained excellent results. If you have any questions, please feel free to call.


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