Egg Harbor Township NJ Reckless Driving Defense Lawyers
In New Jersey, charges for reckless driving often accompany other driving-related charges, such as Speeding or Driving While Intoxicated. The basis for reckless driving charges is alleged “willful or wanton disregard” for the driver’s own safety, or for the safety of others. A reckless driving charge can be used is the basis for a suspension of your driver’s license when this charge accompanies other charges that do not carry that potential penalty. Although New Jersey statutes only dictate an assessment of 5 points on your driver’s license for a reckless driving conviction, relevant case law (see State of New Jersey v. Moran) confirms that judges may issue a driver’s license suspension for a reckless driving offense if the state is able to show that the driver exhibited “willful or wanton disregard” of the well-being of life or property.
License Suspension and Other Penalties for Reckless Driving
Under New Jersey law, reckless driving is considered to include any conduct behind the wheel that is likely to endanger people or property. This conduct is considered to be an aggravated form of the reckless driving offense when it is “willful” or “wanton”. When a driver’s conduct is “willful” or “wanton” and likely to endanger life or property, New Jersey courts will find that conduct to be highly likely to endanger person or property, rather than just being likely to cause such endangerment. These are the circumstances under which a judge may decide to suspend your driver’s license as a result of a reckless driving charge. Once a judge finds a driver’s conduct to exhibit this high likelihood to cause the endangerment of others or their property, a driver’s license suspension become a very likely penalty.
License Suspension: The Willful or Wanton Disregard Requirement
In the case of State of New Jersey v. Moran, for example, the defendant was found to have used a left turn lane to pass vehicles that were waiting at a traffic light. The defendant’s prior driving record did not contain any previous points issued against her, but did show that she had engaged in various traffic offenses in the past, including speeding, failure to yield the right of way, improper passing, failing to observe a traffic light, obstructing passage of other vehicles, unsafe operation of a vehicle, and careless driving. With this prior record counted against the defendant, the Judge pointed out that the defendant’s acts in the case at hand were “willful”, and penalized her with a driver’s license suspension. It is important to note that the basis for the suspension was the “willful” nature of the defendant’s actions behind the wheel, and not necessarily her prior driving record. Based on this convoluted case law, unfortunately, it is possible for judges to hand down severe penalties including driver’s license suspensions for instances of reckless driving that would otherwise be relatively harmless motor vehicle offenses. Moreover, the established case law allows these harsh consequences even for drivers who do not have the extensive prior record that came into play in this case, since the nature of the driver’s actions during the offense at hand, rather than the past driving record, is considered to be the triggering finding for the issuance of a license suspension.
Atlantic County Reckless Driving Defense Attorneys
Unfortunately, judges in New Jersey may impose the penalty of a license suspension in a reckless driving matter even if your guilty plea is based on a misunderstanding of the text of the reckless driving statute, N.J.S.A. § 39:4-96, which omits license suspension as a possible consequence for this charge. This mistake is frequently made not only be reckless driving defendants but also by inexperienced attorneys. Many drivers are caught off guard when their sentencing includes a driver’s license suspension. In order to avoid this harsh penalty, which can be debilitating and affect your employment prospects, current employment, and family life, you will need to work with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.
If you have been charged with reckless driving without a valid license in New Jersey, it is very important to contact a qualified New Jersey traffic law attorney as soon as possible to discuss defense strategies. We may be able to identify key information in the details of your situation that will be helpful. Our powerful team of seasoned New Jersey traffic offense lawyers can help you successfully navigate the unclear legal landscape of your reckless driving charge, and in many cases may be able to have the charges reduced or even dismissed entirely. At the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our highly skilled and knowledgeable attorneys have decades of experience defending drivers facing reckless driving charges in New Jersey. Our powerful legal defense team handles unlicensed driver matters in Egg Harbor Township, Atlantic City, Buena Vista, Hamilton Township, and throughout Atlantic County.
Contact Us Today for a Free Consultation
In order to better understand the chances of having your charges reduced or dismissed, we will need to review the facts of your unique situation. Therefore, if you are facing charges for reckless driving in Atlantic County, please contact us today for a free consultation. Our seasoned legal defense team will review your matter and help you understand how we can advocate on your behalf in order to resolve your case as favorably as possible. Call us at 1-877-450-8301 or e-mail us to arrange your free consultation today.