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NJ Careless Driving Ticket Because of $500+ Car Damage In An Accident?

Trenton, NJ |

I received a careless driving ticket in NJ after I hit a car in the rear. The officer issued me a citation and stated that he never gives out tickets for accidents, but because there will be at least $500 in damages to the other car, he had to give it to me.

Is there a NJ law that states an officer must tell someone why they gave them a ticket?

Is there a NJ law that states an officer must issue a citation if there is damages in excess of $500 because of an accident?

How did he appraise the amount of money it would cost to repair the car if he is not a mechanic?

He told me to go to court and talk to the prosecutor to receive an "unsafe" driving ticket and pay off the 2 points.

Should I take this to trial?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. No law, however careless driving tickets usually issued in this fact pattern. Go to court and ask for a no point ticket, 97.2. The fine is high, but you will get no points and your rates may not go up.

    Please note that these answers are provided as a community service and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


  2. No. Spend a couple hundred bucks for a traffic court lawyer in your city to fight it.

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  3. Representing yourself without adequate legal experience or knowledge can prove to be a challenge. It may not be possible to learn every law or detail. Often times the more complex a case is, the more legal knowledge a person needs in order to be successful. A lack of time, resources, and knowledge are difficult to overcome. It's better to hire a lawyer to handle this. There are a lot of excellent lawyers in your city.

    If this answer was helpful to you or if it was the best answer, please click the buttons that state helpful and best answer. Please understand that all of my answers are for informational purposes only, are not legal advise, and do not create an attorney-client relationship between you and me. I am not your attorney and you are not my client unless we enter into a signed contract. My only legal advise to you is that you should immediately consult with and hire a lawyer and that you should not represent yourself. If you want to more information about personal injury, visit http://www.sainjurylawyer.com or if you want more information about criminal defense, visit http://www.giardinolawfirm.com. Good luck!


  4. First, there is no law that an officer has to tell you why a ticket was issued. Second, he was referencing the $500 because there is a cost of damages trigger in the leaving the scene of an accident/failure to report an accident statute. I think he just mixed it up a bit. Third, he can't know the exact amount of the damage to a bumper, but that didn't stop NJ from enacting the statute, so the officer's stuck with making decisions on the side of the road. Fourth, depending on your driving record, you could be eligible for an Unsafe Driving (no point) downgrade. The fines are usually between $389 -$439 for the first time it's used. This isn't always better for everyone. If you have a long, unblemished driving history, and you've been a customer with your insurance company for a long time, it might be less expensive to plead to the 2 point ticket and take an on-line safe driver course to eliminate the poitns afterwards. Either way, go to court, talk to the prosecutor, and call your insurance company beforehand so you can make an informed decision.


  5. Traffic court Lawyers is your best best.

    Good luck.

    Check out my website below and give me a call for a free consultation if you are a California resident 877-427-2752 or you can email me at Michael@Kingofpersonalinjurylaw.com www. KingofPersonalInjuryLaw.com I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference


  6. There is no requirement that the officer tell you the underlying basis for the ticket. It sounds like he felt bad giving you he ticket but felt due to the amount of damage he had to. The $500 comes from the law that requires you to report an accident if there is more than $500 of damage. The amount of damage is irrelevant to whether you are guilty of careless driving. There is a rebuttable presumption of guilt when you rear-end another car. Depending on your driving record, you may be eligible for downgrade to unsafe driving which is no points but has a $150 fine plus a $250 surcharge. An attorney may be able to plead the matter to a different no point ticket with a lesser fine. If you do not have any prior tickets, you may be better off pleading to the 2 point ticket and taking an on-line defensive driving course which will wipe out the points.

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