How Are Traffic Violations Distinct from Traffic Charges in New Jersey?

speeding car

Most traffic violations in New Jersey begin as a ticket given by a police officer to someone for a traffic violation. Traffic violations can encompass everything from a minor, non-moving violation to a DUI (driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol) charge. And traffic violations sometimes have can also carry serious consequences up to losing your license.

This blog will explain basic information that will be helpful to know about New Jersey traffic laws: what traffic violations are versus what traffic crimes are. If you have any questions about traffic law, don’t hesitate to contact a Bergen County traffic ticket lawyer. After reviewing your specific circumstances, we’ll be able to give you personalized advice.

The Typical Traffic Violations Process

In most cases, after someone receives a ticket, they will pay the fine and that will be the end of it. It is important to remember, however, that paying the fine means pleading guilty to whatever charges your ticket alleges. You might be more or less worried depending on the violation alleged, whether it’s something relatively light like parking next to a hydrant or a heavier concern like a DUI. Both of these are traffic violations, though punishments can be very different depending on the specific charge. Some punishments include license suspension, license revocation, fines, and jail time.

Particularly grave traffic offenses are classified as indictable crimes, also known as felonies in other states. Examples of indictable traffic crimes are vehicular manslaughter, vehicular homicide, and committing a hit-and-run.

Remember that it is your legal right to dispute the alleged violation. To do so, you would need to go to the municipal court of the town where the ticket says your alleged violation happened. The ticket should also indicate the day you should appear if you wish to contest the charge.

Whatever you decide, be sure to either pay the ticket or appear at your scheduled hearing. You may even have a warrant for your arrest issued if you do not appear in court and don’t pay the ticket.

Moving Versus Non-moving Traffic Violations

An important distinction is whether a given violation may be considered moving or non-moving. Which classification depends on what the vehicle was doing at the time of the violation.

Typically, if the vehicle was in motion when the violation happened—speeding, running a red light, not wearing a seat belt, among others—then it is a moving violation. If the vehicle was stationary at the time of the offense—illegal parking, expired license and registration—then it is a non-moving violation.

The reason this distinction matters is that it affects who is held legally liable. Moving violations are charged to the driver, not the registrant. Vice versa, non-moving violations are charged to the registrant, not the driver.

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