Your Options When Responding to a Traffic Ticket
In New Jersey, when you receive any type of traffic ticket, there are a number of ways you can respond:
- Simply pay the fine—By paying the fine, you essentially plead guilty and forfeit the right to a trial. This may be a good option if you’ve never had a ticket, as a single citation will seldom lead to higher insurance rates or suspension of your license. It’s customarily simple to pay the fine—you usually can do it online and won’t need to appear in court. If, however, you believe you have a valid defense, or you have prior citations, this may not be in your best interests.
- Plead guilty with an explanation—You may be tempted to go to court and plead guilty but offer the judge an explanation of the circumstances, hoping the fine will be reduced or waived. That rarely happens, but a guilty plea on your record can have an impact on your insurance rates. If you have any colorable defense, it’s usually better to plead not guilty.
- Plead nolo contendere—In essence, a nolo contendere plea means that you choose not to contest the charge. A nolo contendere plea is seldom necessary but might make sense if you were involved in an accident as it cannot be used as evidence in a civil trial. A guilty plea can.
- Plead not guilty—Even if you believe you were responsible, you always have the right to plead not guilty. The court will not punish you for pleading not guilty, even when the evidence overwhelming supports your culpability. As a general rule, you must appear in court to plead not guilty (although you typically can do this at the court clerk’s window).
Contact Gregg A. Wisotsky, Partner at Javerbaum Wurgaft Hicks Kahn Wikstrom & Sinins, PC
I offer a free phone consultation to every prospective client. For a complimentary evaluation of your case, contact my office online or call me at 973-241-7468. I will come to your home or the hospital to meet with you, if necessary. All major credit cards are accepted.