For many in New Jersey, a traffic ticket is not a big deal. Dealing with a ticket may be as simple as going online, paying the fine and moving on with normal life. However, there are some traffic violations that carry more serious consequences, and a driver may decide to fight these charges in municipal court.
It is not unusual for a municipal courtroom to seem like unfamiliar and confusing territory when a driver arrives for a hearing. It is important that those defending against violations turn off their electronic devices and listen carefully for instructions from the court personnel and the judge. Typically, the court will hear numerous cases in a day, so a day in court may involve waiting.
After the judge hears from the police officer who issued the traffic violation, the defendant should be prepared to present evidence to support a not guilty plea. If the judge rules that the defendant is guilty, the defendant will be responsible for his or her fines and potentially for court costs. The driver may also be subject to points on his or her license, which could place the driver at risk of license suspension, higher insurance rates and other consequences.
It is sometimes possible for a driver to contest traffic violations in municipal court without the assistance of a legal professional. However, when there is so much on the line, it may be unwise to take a chance on making a mistake that may result in a conviction, excessive fines and points that place one’s driving privileges at risk. An attorney who is familiar with the various municipal courts in New Jersey is typically an invaluable advocate.