Traffic Ticket FAQs
Q: Should I plead guilty to my traffic ticket or disorderly persons complaint by mail?
A: No. Too many clients come into my office facing surcharges or a suspension due to past tickets they pleaded guilty to by mail without the assistance of an attorney. Or, now some clients have a criminal record they cannot quickly expunge due to disorderly persons complaints that they pleaded guilty to without the assistance of an attorney. Each New Jersey Municipal Court handles matters its own way. Hire an experienced municipal court attorney to save you from fines, penalties, the loss of your license and a criminal record.
Q: If my New Jersey driving privilege is suspended, can I get a special license to commute to school or work?
A: No. New Jersey does not issue conditional or restricted licenses for any purpose. Once your New Jersey driving privilege is suspended, you may not drive for any reason until you restore your license with the NJ MVC. If you are caught driving while suspended you face an additional suspension period, expensive fines, nine (9) insurance eligibility points and a possible jail sentence.
Q: I went to municipal court alone to answer my ticket or disorderly persons complaint. I wanted to speak with the prosecutor and try to plead guilty or resolve the matter on my own. The judge got annoyed and told me to come back to municipal court with a lawyer. Did I do something wrong?
A: If you are charged with a disorderly persons offense, the judge recommended you hire a lawyer because your guilty plea would leave you with a criminal record. Unless you expunge this guilty plea when eligible, you would have a criminal record for the rest of your life. In the event you are charged with a traffic offense that may result in a suspension of your license and/or excessive NJ MVC points, most municipal court judges will not let you plead guilty to such an offense without consulting with a lawyer. Neither the judge nor the municipal prosecutor can give you legal advice. That is why the judge told you to come back to municipal court with a lawyer. This is for your own protection.
Q: The officer who wrote my speeding ticket did not use a laser or radar device to measure my speed. Also, my car cannot travel at the alleged rate of speed. Are these valid defenses?
A: No. The police are allowed to testify in municipal court as to their “opinion” of the speed at which they observed you traveling. In State v. Ashjian, an unpublished decision, the court found sufficient evidence to sustain the defendant’s conviction based upon the officer’s “opinion” that the defendant was speeding. In State v. Packin, the court rejected the defendant’s defenses of “equipment malfunction” and “unintentional speeding” in sustaining a conviction for speeding.
Q: How many New Jersey MVC points will I get for a traffic ticket?
A: Once you accumulate 6 New Jersey MVC points, you will be surcharged by the New Jersey MVC for three (3) years. You may also be surcharged by the New Jersey MVC for certain point and nonpoint traffic violations. Once you accumulate 12 or more New Jersey MVC points, your license will be suspended, and you will be placed on probation by the New Jersey MVC. To learn more, visit my New Jersey Point System page for New Jersey MVC points per violation.
Q: I just lost my case in municipal court. What can I do?
A: You can file an appeal. You must file a municipal court appeal with the Superior Court of New Jersey within 25 days from your disposition date. The appeals process is complicated and one where it is strongly recommended that you have the assistance of an attorney.
Q: At what point in the criminal justice process should I hire an attorney?
A: You can hire an attorney at any time, even before you are charged. It is your constitutional right to have counsel present with you before you answer any questions from the police. If you expect the police to question you or charge you with a criminal offense, do not hesitate to hire an attorney now.
Q: Why did I receive a “Scheduled Suspension Notice” from the New Jersey MVC?
A: The New Jersey MVC can administratively suspend your New Jersey driving privilege for various reasons. The most common New Jersey MVC administrative suspensions are for moving violations, which result in maximum point accumulation, moving violations during probationary driver status, moving violations during suspended driver status, accidents during suspended driver status, visa expiration, fatal accidents, medical reasons, driver reexam, unpaid surcharges, child support arrears, failing to appear in court and fraud. Do not make the mistake of ignoring this suspension notice or not hiring an attorney to defend you in your New Jersey MVC license suspension hearing.
Q: My New Jersey driving privilege was suspended by a municipal court judge for drunk driving, driving without insurance, driving while suspended or another moving violation. Can I request a New Jersey MVC hearing to reverse this suspension?
A: No. The New Jersey MVC cannot reverse a municipal court judge’s sentence for certain moving violations that carry a mandatory or discretionary suspension of your New Jersey driving privilege.
Q: When will points be removed from my New Jersey driving record?
A: Up to 3 points will be subtracted from your New Jersey MVC point total for each year that you do not receive a moving violation that carries New Jersey MVC points or a suspension of your New Jersey driving privilege. You may also reduce your New Jersey MVC point total by 2 for successful completion of a defensive driving course, and reduce your New Jersey MVC point total by 3 for successful completion of the New Jersey MVC’s license improvement course, for which you must be selected by the New Jersey MVC. You are only eligible to take a defensive driving course or license improvement course once every five years. Your New Jersey MVC point total can never be reduced below zero. (See my New Jersey MVC Point Violations page.)
Q: How much does it cost for me to retain the legal services of the Law Offices of Thomas Carroll Blauvelt, LLC, to defend me in court or against the New Jersey MVC?
A: The Law Offices of Thomas Carroll Blauvelt, LLC, charges its clients an affordable flat fee for representation for all court matters or New Jersey MVC hearings. When compared to the potential for jail time, or the substantial expense for transportation to and from school, work or medical appointments during your license suspension period, the flat fee cost for my legal services is very reasonable. Please call, email or fax my office with your inquiries. See my firm’s Contact Us page for more details.
Q: I hold a New Jersey driver’s license and received a traffic ticket in another state. Will this out-of-state ticket go on my New Jersey MVC point total?
A: Yes. You will receive 2 New Jersey MVC points on your New Jersey MVC point total if you are convicted of an out-of-state moving violation.
Q: Where are the New Jersey MVC license suspension hearings held?
A: The New Jersey MVC hearings are held at four locations: Trenton, Wayne, Eatontown, and West Deptford Township. The Law Offices of Thomas Carroll Blauvelt, LLC, will represent clients in all four New Jersey MVC locations.
Q: How long will traffic violations stay on my driving record?
A: All New Jersey MVC point violations after March 1, 1974 remain on your driving record.