Reckless Driving in New Jersey
Reckless driving is a serious violation under New Jersey law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-96, because the range in penalties can be much higher than most other traffic violations. Reckless driving is often charged as a companion to excessive speeding or drunk driving charges.
The fines carried with a New Jersey reckless driving charge include 5 points on your driving record, 5 points on your insurance record, up to $200 in fines or a maximum of 60 days in jail for a first offense or a maximum of three months in jail for a second or third offense. In addition, the court has discretion in suspending your driving privileges for an indefinite period of time.
What the State Must Prove
In order for you to be convicted of reckless driving, the prosecution must prove certain elements, including:
- You were the person driving;
- You were driving a vehicle;
- You were driving in willful or wanton disregard for the rights or safety of others (in other words, you must have been consciously aware that your actions posed a risk to others);
- You were driving in a manner that endangered or was likely to endanger another property or other individuals.
The prosecution must prove all of these elements in order to convict you on the reckless driving charge.
Strategies In Court
If you or someone you know has been charged with reckless driving, it is imperative that you immediately hire an experienced New Jersey reckless driving attorney to help you fight the charges.
Some strategies that may prove successful in fighting a reckless driving charge include:
- Attempting an alternative plea to obstructing traffic under N.J.S.A. 39:4-67.
- If your request for unsafe driving is not granted, you should consider an unsafe driving request under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2.
- If the prosecutor does not grant this request either, your last resort should be careless driving under N.J.S.A. 39:4-97 or improper passing under N.J.S.A. 39:4-85.