You are not alone if you sometimes feel the rules of the road are frustrating. Waiting at a traffic light when no other cars are on the road or staying under the speed limit when you are in a hurry can tempt you to take matters into your own hands. However, ignoring the traffic laws can result in stiff consequences, including losing your privileges to drive, and you may present a danger to other drivers.
Traffic tickets can cover dozens of infractions. You may not think much about it when the officer asks for your signature and hands you a ticket for speeding, making an illegal turn or running a red light. You will probably have a court date and a fine. However, look closer at the ticket and you will see that the officer may have assessed points on your license.
How do the points get there?
Points for moving violations are like a rating system for safe driving. The more points you have, the higher your risk behind the wheel. After you accumulate a certain number of points, New Jersey authorities may decide you are too great a risk to other drivers, and they will suspend your license. Some violations that can add points to your record include the following:
- Causing injury in a traffic accident: eight points
- Speeding between 15 and 20 mph over the limit: four points
- Running a red light or stop sign: two points
- Aggressive driving, such as tailgating: five points
A total of 12 points can lead to license suspension. As you can see, it is not that difficult to rack up points if you drive carelessly.
Avoiding the consequences
Having points on your license can lead to higher fines and surcharges for subsequent violations. Some of these charges can apply for years after a violation, so any future speeding tickets, for example, could become far more expensive. You can also expect to pay a higher premium on insurance with points on your record. This is because the insurer sees you as a high risk for an accident.
Points remain on your record indefinitely unless you take actions to remove them, such as driving for a year or more with no violations or taking a defensive driving course. You can also try to avoid getting the points in the first place by having a skilled attorney represent you in court.