What Is the Difference Between Careless and Reckless Driving in New Jersey?

Neither careless nor reckless driving is a criminal offense in New Jersey. However, they are both traffic offenses with serious consequences. While they sound similar, the practical difference between reckless and careless driving does matter in terms of possible fines, points on your license, and its possible suspension.

Reckless Driving

If you have been charged with reckless driving, it means that you are accused of behaving negligently behind the wheel. Drunk driving and speeding both fall under this category. Obviously, these behaviors are highly dangerous, often leading to deaths and injuries in car accidents.

According to a New Jersey government fact sheet, “Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or reckless driving, are examples of motor vehicle violations that may result in the loss of driving privileges. It will take time and money to reinstate driving privileges.”

However, by choosing the right lawyer, you increase your chances of getting out of that charge. For instance, in the case of drunk driving, making sure the correct procedures were followed by the arresting officer, that any tests were performed correctly, and that the breathalyzer was properly maintained are all potential avenues that can be explored.

Reckless Driving Penalties

  • First Offense – Five points in addition to either a $50–$200 fine or imprisonment not exceeding three months—or both
  • Second Offense – Five points in addition to either a $100–$500 fine or imprisonment not exceeding three months—or both

Careless Driving

careless driving offense has to do with endangering a person or property, and a ticket can result from actions such as not fully stopping at a stop sign, eating behind the wheel, and ignoring a closed lane sign.

As an example of possible defenses for this sort of charge, drivers are often ticketed when there are modifications to the road, such as a closed lane. Sometimes the police officer can incorrectly charge you with making an illegal turn when your proper lane was closed if it was not marked correctly during the transition. Catching small details like this (and there can be many) can get your violation thrown out or reduced if you work with an experienced traffic lawyer who knows how to find them.

Careless Driving Penalties

  • Any Offense – Two points in addition to either a fine of $50–$200 or imprisonment not exceeding fifteen days

Why Driving Points Matter

If you accrue too many points on your license, not only might your insurance rates go up, but you could face a number of potential negative consequences:

  • If you get six or more points within three years on your current driving record, you will be assessed a surcharge.
  • If you get twelve or more points on your current driving record, your license will be suspended. You will receive a notice of scheduled suspension by mail

Get Help from a New Jersey Traffic Lawyer

Call today to speak to one of our attorneys for free and see how we may be able to help you improve your situation. There is no obligation to continue with us after the call, and it is 100 percent completely confidential.

Jean Baptiste & Associates, LLC has extensive experience getting traffic violations reduced or dropped for our clients. Once retained, we will conduct a detailed investigation of your case and look for loopholes and errors in your charges. Call us or contact us through the form below to arrange your free case evaluation.

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