When you get a traffic ticket in New Jersey, there’s really nothing you can do except pay the fine and put it behind you, right? After all, it’s your word against that of a police officer. Who do you expect the court to believe? Wrong!!
Your Options When You Get a Traffic Ticket
Of course, you can simply plead guilty and pay the ticket. You can typically do this without appearing in court, simply by mailing in the fine or paying it online (if the courts accept that type of payment). Doing so may result in points being added to your driving record, which may cause your motor vehicle insurance rates to go up.
The other option, of course, is to challenge the ticket. To do so, you’ll have to go to court. The ticket will indicate the date and time you are supposed to appear. Don’t think, though, that you’ll be in and out of the courthouse on your appointed date. You can probably expect a 2-3 hour wait when you get there.
Your first step may be to try to talk directly with the prosecutor. To do so, you’ll need to get on a list. You can ask the prosecutor to downgrade the charge (or the prosecutor may offer that), but typically only if you have extenuating circumstances or a clean driving record. As a general rule, you can only plea down points twice in any five year period.
You won’t be called to appear before the judge until you’ve had an opportunity to speak to the prosecutor. If you work out a deal with the prosecutor, that information will be communicated to the court by the bailiff. You will still have to appear before the judge, but only to formalize the agreement you reached with the prosecutor.
Challenging a Ticket
When you appear before the judge, you will be asked to plead guilty or innocent. If you want to challenge the citation, you will plead innocent and a trial will be scheduled. The police officer will be present. The judge will listen to arguments by both sides, as well as the testimony of any witnesses, and render a decision. As a practical matter, it is often difficult to get a ticket completely dismissed, but you may avoid any points on your record.
At The Cintron Firm, LLC, we offer more than 14 years of experience to people in New Jersey facing a broad array of legal challenges. Attorney Mark Cintron has worked as a prosecutor and has extensive courtroom experience, so he’s always ready, willing and able to protect your interests before a judge or jury. Contact our office online or call us at 201-791-1333 or 917-494-5695 to set up an appointment.