N.J.S.A. 39:4-96 – Reckless Driving – Points

Although the statute for Reckless driving lists jail time as a possible penalty, the likelihood of that happening is very low. The only caveat would be if you have are convicted on multiple occasions for reckless driving. In that instance, a literal reading of the statute could lead a court to sentence an individual to county jail time. But under normal circumstance, reckless driving in New Jersey is a very serious NJ motor vehicle violation that carries the following list of possible penalties:

  • High Fines
  • 5 Points
  • major auto insurance ramifications
  • license suspension by the court (not motor vehicle, see below)

In New Jersey, if you have more than 6 points in the prior three-year period, you will be surcharged, even if during that period points came off your license for good driving.

More importantly, at 12 points in a 2 year period the motor vehicle commission will suspend you license.

However, reckless driving is not an easy case for the prosecutor to prove because it requires the element of intent, more specifically, the State has to prove that the operator of the vehicle operated it “heedlessly, in a willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others and that the driving was likely to endanger person or property.

That is a lot for the state to prove. When we talk about reckless driving we are not talking about being careless or inattentive or even aggressive. It is more than that.

The driving has to be so grossly inappropriate that it truly endangers others. Simply driving fast is not reckless. Driving real fast through a busy intersection and blowing a red light…maybe.

I have represented countless individuals charged with reckless driving and other motor vehicle violation. I can’t recall the last time one of my clients was actually found guilty of it.

This is because it is a hard case for the State to prove and can usually be resolved via a very favorable plea bargain or trial (not guilty hopefully).

I can be reached if you have any questions regarding this traffic violation or any others.

I handle motor vehicle violations through the state and can be reached twenty-four hours.


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