Howes & Howes, Attorneys at Law

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What is the “unsafe driver” law?  Does “unsafe driving” carry points? And is there a surcharge?

When a motorist contests a moving violation, the police and prosecutor quite often agree to allow a plea to “unsafe driving”, which is a lesser offense to most violations.  There are, however, pitfalls in this approach.

The New Jersey motor vehicle code contains a commonly-used provision known as “unsafe driving”.  The provision is used in municipal court as a downgrade from more serious motor vehicle offenses.  The courts allow a downgrade whenever there is a factual basis for a downgrade.

“Unsafe driving” is commonly used because your first two “unsafe driving” violations do not carry points.  There is a common pitfall because the third violation carries four points.  Many motorists - some represented by attorneys - have accepted a downgrade to “unsafe driving” only to learn later that it was their third offense, and that they now have four points.

The second important thing to know about “unsafe driving” is that it carries a surcharge.  The surcharge is different than most surcharges, because the drunk driving surcharge and other statutory surcharges are collected by the Motor Vehicle Commission.  The “unsafe driver” surcharge is $250 per conviction to be collected by the municipal court on the date of conviction.

If you have further questions, then you should contact Howes & Howes.


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