Careless Driving in New Jersey (NJSA 39:4-97)

In New Jersey, careless driving is a catch-all law that prohibits any form of unsafe operation not otherwise covered by an already existing traffic statute. It differs from reckless driving and is a less serious offense but still carries points and fines. It is extremely important to understand the ramifications of a careless driving charge and how it differs from a reckless driving charge in NJ.

What is Careless Driving and How is it Different Than Reckless Driving?

Under NJSA 39:4-97, “A person who drives a vehicle carelessly, or without due caution and circumspection, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property, shall be guilty of careless driving.”

The careless driving law in NJ is exceptionally open-ended and leaves a police officer with a tremendous amount of discretion. Any time you drive erratically on the road and your conduct does not quite fit with another traffic violation, an officer will likely ticket you for this offense. If you are convicted of careless driving in NJ, you face a fine of $50-$200, 2 points will be assessed against your New Jersey driver’s license, and you could be put in jail for up to 15 days.

Careless driving is very different than reckless driving, and, in New Jersey, is a completely different charge.

According to NJSA 39:4-96, reckless driving involves “[d]riving a vehicle heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner so as to endanger, or be likely to endanger, a person or property.”

If you are convicted of reckless driving in NJ, you will face a fine of $50-$200, 5 points on your license, and you could be put in jail for up to 60 days. If you are convicted of reckless driving again, you can go to jail for up to 3 months and your license can be suspended. Remember, a conviction for careless driving in New Jersey may be less than that of reckless driving, but it can still drive up your car insurance premium and ultimately lead to a suspension of your license.

Make sure to hire an experienced New Jersey traffic ticket attorney to help you avoid the negative consequences of a conviction.

Who Should You Contact?

If you recently received a NJ traffic ticket, contact The Rosenblum Law Firm. Our team of NY and NJ traffic ticket attorneys has a successful track record of fighting NJ traffic tickets and getting our clients the results they want. Call us today at 888-883-5529.