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Can I go to jail for reckless or careless driving in New Jersey?

The state of New Jersey takes all traffic violations very seriously. As such, it is certainly possible for those convicted of reckless or careless driving to receive a jail sentence. If you are facing charges of careless or reckless driving, it is important to know the difference between the two so that you are prepared to build your defense.

While these two traffic violations are similar, one important difference separates the two. That difference is willfulness. Reckless driving occurs when a motorist willfully disregards the safety of other individuals by driving in a way that could endanger people or property.

By contrast, careless driving occurs when a motorists drives without practicing due caution. Careless driving may also endanger others, but is not considered a willful act of recklessness.

Both of these traffic violations come with serious penalties. A conviction of careless driving may result in up to 15 days in jail, a fine of $50 to $200 dollars or both penalties. A reckless driving conviction could lead to a jail sentence of up to 60 days, a fine of $50 to $200 dollars or both. Any subsequent reckless driving conviction will result in increased jail time and fines of up to $500.

Having a compromised driving record is a big deal and often has a negative trickle-down effect on other areas of your life. It makes sense to protect your record and one way to do so is by consulting with a defense attorney. Together, you and your lawyer have an excellent chance of creating a strategy to help you avoid conviction for traffic violations in New Jersey.

Source: New Jersey Courts, "Minimum Mandatory Fines and Penalties," accessed Dec. 06, 2017

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