Can I Lose My Driver’s License For a Reckless Driving Ticket In New Jersey?
Reckless or distracted driving has become a big problem in the United States. This is especially true for young drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2011, approximately 2,650 teenage motorists between the ages of 16 to 19 were killed and almost 292,000 were seriously injured in car accidents that involved reckless driving. However, regardless of how old you are, when you get behind the wheel it is imperative that you are a vigilant and safe driver. Driving recklessly can easily result in a serious accident that could cost your life and the lives of others.
New Jersey has one of the country’s strictest laws when it comes to dealing with reckless drivers. A conviction for reckless driving can result in serious consequences for the motorist, including serious fines, increased insurance premiums and possibly the loss of your driving privileges. To avoid these life altering consequences, it is important to hire an experienced reckless driving attorney in New Jersey to help you dismiss the charges.
Reckless Driving Ticket Penalties in New Jersey
Reckless driving charges are generally accompanied by other traffic related charges, such as driving while intoxicated (DWI) or speeding. A reckless driving ticket charge is based on a “willful or wanton disregard” for the safety of other motorists on the road. As such, New Jersey judges often use these ancillary charges as grounds for the suspension or revocation of a motorist’s driving privileges at sentencing.
This means that, typically, a reckless driving charge on its face does not carry a license suspension. However, it is through case law development (namely State of New Jersey v. Moran) that judges have obtained the power to suspend a motorist’s driving privileges for a reckless driving offense. As such, it is common for most people to be totally surprised when a judge imposes a license suspension for a reckless driving charge even if they only plead guilty with the impression that the suspension was not an option.
Other consequences of a reckless driving conviction include:
- Monetary fines
- Five (5) points on your driving record
- Increased insurance premiums
Defining “Willful or Wanton Disregard” For a License Suspension
Reckless drivers are defined as motorists who act in a manner that endangers the lives of other people and property. Motorists who commit a “willful” violation of the reckless driving statute in New Jersey, warranting imposition of driver’s license suspension, engage in an aggravated form of reckless driving, meaning any conduct that is highly likely to endanger a person or property.
What this difference means is that if a judge finds that your driving mannerism is “highly likely to endanger a person or property,” as opposed to conduct that is merely “likely to endanger” could be the determining factor in whether your lose your driving privileges.
For more information or to schedule a free consultation with New Jersey reckless driving attorney Dan Matrafajlo, please call the Law Offices of Dan T. Matrafajlo at (908) 248-4404.