Traffic Offenses

Some of the more common motor vehicle violations are described below, but first . . .

What to do when you're pulled over

Pull over as soon as possible. If you even think that a highway patrol officer is going to pull you over do so as soon as is safely possible. If the officer is after you, this small sign of respect starts the encounter on a good note.  If the officer isn't after you, your pulling over doesn't necessarily mean to the officer that you're admitting guilt, just that you're yielding to an emergency vehicle.

Always pull over to the right. Always pull over on the right side of the roadway. Even if you're in the left-hand lane.  Signal first and safely move over to the far right lane, and then to the shoulder. When you come to a stop, try to do so at an area which has a full shoulder (preferably without guardrails). Pulling over on the left may obstruct traffic and -- because the left lane is generally the fastest traffic -- exposes you and the officer to greater danger.  Pulling over next to a guardrail may make it difficult for the officer to safely approach your car. 

Know where your documents are. When an officer first pulls you over, s/he will ask for your license, registration, and insurance.  You should know where these documents are. 

Make the officer feel safe. Always keep your hands in plain sight. Many officers prefer that you keep your hands on the wheel where they can be easily seen.  Don't make sudden movements.  Roll your window down all the way. Remain in your car.  If you're stopped at night, turn-on your  interior light.  Bear in mind that you might know you're not a threat, but many law enforcement officers are shot or otherwise attacked during routine traffic stops.  Making the officer more secure may lighten the mood.

Let the cop talk first. Don't blurt out things that could incriminate you. Remain calm, even if you're upset about being stopped.  Don't volunteer information, like how fast you thought you were going.  The officer may not be pulling you over for what you think he is. Let him talk to you first.  Respond politely and respectfully.    

Don't argue with the cop. I have never seen a situation where an officer decided not to issue a summons after someone blasts him/her with profanity and argument.  Challenging the officer is a recipe for disaster.  While most officers are professional, they are also human.  Angering them could mean you will be given more tickets and/or the officer will be less likely to compromise in court. 

Penalties for Common Motor Vehicle Violations


$30.00 TO $100.00 Fine and possible loss of license and/or registration


     1st Offense:

  • $300.00 to $1,000.00 Fine
  • One (1) year loss of driving privileges in New Jersey
  • Possible community service

     2nd Offense:

  • $500.00 to $5,000.00 Fine
  • Two (2) years loss of driving privileges in New Jersey
  • (14) days in jail
  • (30) community service


     1st Offense:

  • Up to six (6) months loss of driving privileges in New Jersey
  • $500.00 Fine

     2nd Offense:

  • Up to six (6) months loss of driving privileges in New Jersey
  • $750.00 Fine
  • 1-5 days in jail
  • Possible revocation of registration privileges

     3rd Offense:

  • Up to six (6) months loss of driving privileges in New Jersey
  • $1,000.00 Fine
  • Mandatory (10) days in jail
  • Possible revocation of registration privileges

There are additional penalties for driving while suspended depending on why you're suspended.  For example, if you are suspended for non- payment of insurance surcharges, and those surcharges remain unpaid at the time of court, there is an additional $3,000.00 civil judgment imposed by the Court. Other enhancements apply where the reason for the suspension is a prior DWI conviction or driving without insurance conviction. 

Disclaimer: This web site is purely a public resource of general New Jersey information (it our intention, but not our promise or guarantee, that this information be correct, complete, and up-to-date). It is not intended be a source of legal advice.  Do not rely on information at this site or others in place of the advice of competent counsel. Christopher M. Carnelli complies with the New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct. This web site is not sponsored or associated with any particular linked entity unless specifically stated. The existence of any particular link is simply intended to imply potential interest to the reader, inclusion of a link should not be construed as an endorsement.