You were issued a speeding ticket, and now you may be wondering what to do. Before you pay your fine, you should know that paying a NJ traffic ticket means that you are pleading guilty.
Speeding tickets can be expensive. Depending on the violation, you may have to pay a fine and/or penalty, and you can get points on your driving record. An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. Division of Motor Vehicles, and your insurance rates are likely to go up. If you receive 12 or more points you will have your driver license suspended.
So what should you do? If you believe that the officer who issued you a ticket made a mistake or that the ticket was issued to you unjustly, you can go to Court and fight to have that ticket dismissed. Think carefully, though, before you decide to fight that speeding ticket. Were you speeding? Can you prove that the officer made a mistake? Is your driving record clean? Even if you truly believe that you are innocent, preparing your defense may not be easy.
If you know that you were speeding or were caught speeding on radar, you may not be able to have the ticket dismissed, but you could still seek a reduced charge and reduction in points by talking to the prosecutor about working out a plea bargain.
Whether you decide to pay the fine, or contest the traffic ticket – look carefully at that ticket and check whether you are required to make a Court appearance. Most traffic tickets will also list the violation and fine. The ticket will additionally provide information on how to contact the Court, and/or date if you are required to appear in Court.
If you decide to plea guilty, send a check or money order to the Court or pay online. Make sure that the payment reaches the clerk before your court date. Keep a copy of your payment for your records.
If you must appear in Court, and/or you wish to plead not guilty, you can enter your plea and request a trial at a later date. If you appear, you may be offered a reduction in the points and fine in return for a guilty plea and immediate payment. If you are not happy with the plea bargain, you still have the option of pleading not guilty and requesting a trial.
Whatever you decide to do – do not ignore your ticket! Ignoring it will not make it “go away,” but may result in a suspended license and/or a bench warrant being issued for your arrest even if the ticket was issued in another state.