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Can a police officer issue a new ticket after the fact?

Caldwell, NJ |

I was ticketed for going through a stop sign (39:4-120.9) and I'm prepared to prove that there was no stop sign there. If judge throws ticket out, can police officer just write me a new ticket for "careless driving" rather than specifying that I went through a stop sign that was not there?

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Attorney answers 5

Best Answer

The Officer has thirty days (after an alleged offense) to issue a careless driving ticket (N.J.S. 39:5-3). Even if he could get around the thirty-day time-constraint, if there was no sign present, this would tend to negate a careless driving ticket.


The careless driving is a 2 point ticket issued to you likely because you allegedly committed the underlying act of driving through a stop sign. I would advise you speak to an attorney who handles traffic tickets before undertaking the task of going through a trial in Municipal Court against the prosecutor. Even if you ultimately don't retain anyone, you should at least be advised by someone who handles these kinds of cases on a regular basis. Good luck in Court.

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I was issued ticket for not stopping at a stop sign. The stop sign was not there and I am prepared to defend against this ticket. I just got a copy of the on-board video recorded during the stop. The video does not show a stop sign, but I did pull out of the private road (into public road) and didn't stop. The cop claims I almost hit him. So, my question is... if judge throws out this original stop sign ticket can the cop turn around and write a NEW ticket for a charge like "careless driving"... appreciate your help.


Depends. If the statute has run, no. If it has not, yes. The statute runs 30 days


If you're wondering if the officer will write a ticket AFTER the judge (hopefully) throws out the one ticket you currently have - I would be shocked and amazed. The purpose of judgment is to provide a sense of resolution to the matter. The court system would cave in on itself if officers routinely wrote new tickets to replace the ones dismissed by a judge. If such a scenario happens, contact an attorney immediately.

Having said that, it is fairly common for officers to participate in plea negotiations (with the prosecutor, defendant, and defense counsel) prior to trial, at which point the charges against the defendant could potentially change. Hypothetically, upon presenting proof to the prosecutor that no stop sign exists, the prosecutor (and the officer) will either agree to dismiss the charge (you would still have court costs to pay), or offer you a plea deal.

Of course, all defendants have an absolute right to a trial, during which the defense can present its evidence in the hopes of a dismissal of the charges. It's been my experience in municipal court that the judge will insist all defendants speak with the prosecutor prior to trial. So even if a defendant thinks he is ready to win the case, the defense must present its evidence to the prosecutor during settlement negotiations. I wish you the best of luck.

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A new ticket must issue within 30 days of the event. But the Court can amend the charge to fit the facts to some degree. It would be difficult to do with this type of ticket.