Racing on a Public Highway (NJSA 39:5C-1)
New Jersey has two statutes forbidding racing on a highway, <NJSA 39:4-52> and NJSA 39:5C-1. 39:5C-1 carries similar penalties to 39:4-52, but is a bit wider reaching in its scope. It outlaws operating a motor vehicle on a public highway in a race or for the purpose of making a speed record, but also punishes attempting or agreeing to operate a vehicle for such a purpose.
It is also not just the driver that can be punished under NJSA 39:5C-1, but anyone who shall “arrange for, manage, encourage, or assist in, the holding of, or the attempting to hold, any such race or speed race event.”
Fines and Other Penalties
Racing on a highway is one of the most serious traffic violations in New Jersey, and one of the most severely punished. A first offender who is convicted of violating NJSA 39:5C-1 will be fined between $25 and $100. A repeat offender faces a fine of between $100 and $200, up to 90 days’ imprisonment, or both.
A conviction of violating NJSA 39:5C-1 or a guilty plea to a violation will also result in five points being added to your driving record. These points don’t expire, though three points will be subtracted from your total for each year you go without a traffic violation or a suspended license. If you get six or more points on your record in any three-year period, you will have to pay a $150 fine, plus $25 for each point above six. If you have 12 points on your record at any point, your license will be suspended.
A judge also has the authority to suspend your license for any willful New Jersey traffic violation, including 39:5C-1.
Effects of Conviction on Car Insurance
If you are convicted of or plead guilty to racing on a public highway, you will get five “insurance eligibility points.” These points are used by licensed New Jersey auto insurance providers to determine how much of a risk you pose. If you are guilty of a serious violation like racing on a public highway, insurance companies will see you as a risky driver and will raise your premium accordingly. If you have prior points on your record, you may even find it impossible to purchase insurance on the voluntary market. If so, you will have to obtain coverage through the more expensive New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan (NJPAIP).
I Can Help
If you have been accused of violating NJSA 39:5C-1, you are facing stiff penalties including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. New Jersey traffic ticket attorney Dan Matrafajlo can help protect your rights and may even be able to get the charge against you dismissed. Please call (908) 248-4404 for a free evaluation of your case.