It's a situation that plays out with stunning regularity across the Garden State: a motorist who makes a simple mistake or experiences a brief lapse in judgment breaks a traffic rule, and shortly thereafter sees flashing lights in their rearview mirror.
While the immediate reaction to being pulled over and issued a ticket for a moving violation is often annoyance or apoplexy, it is often followed by some manner of reluctant acceptance. In other words, once their emotions subside, most people resign themselves to their fate and opt to simply pay the ticket.
While it's understandable why a person would elect to do this, it's also important to understand that there are consequences of which a driver may not be entirely aware.
Indeed, in recognition of the fact that driving is a privilege, not a right, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has established a system whereby points — more like demerits — are added to driving records for moving violations.
While this might not seem like that pressing of an issue, consider the following:
- If six or more points are assessed against your driving record within a three-year period on your current driving record, you will be forced to pay a costly surcharge.
- If 12 or more points are assessed against your current driving record, your license will be suspended
It's important to understand that points are not assessed for things like parking tickets and that the number of points assessed depends on the offense, such that the more serious the moving violation, the higher the point value.
For example, while failing to stop at a red light will result in two points being added to your record, tailgating will result in five points being added to your record.
We'll continue this discussion in a future post, exploring more about the aforementioned surcharge and whether points can be removed from a record.
In the meantime, if you have been issued a moving violation, resist the urge to just pay it and consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options.