The NJ Supreme Court has allowed plea bargains in most traffic violation cases. The traffic ticket of Unsafe Driving (39:4-97.2) is commonly used as a “downgrade” or “plea bargain” by NJ traffic violation defendants and prosecutors.
Unsafe Driving has been used for many years as a downgrade from a two-point moving violation to the zero point Unsafe Diving ticket. This is because NJ Unsafe Driving carries no DMV points for an NJ driver’s first two offenses.
Unfortunately, a few years ago, in order to solve the State’s annual budget crisis, past Gov. McGreevy added a one-time $250.00 surcharge to be paid in court every time a NJ Defendant pleads guilty Unsafe Driving.
Last week, the NJ Appellate Division cleared up a misconception in the Unsafe Driving law. The court said that there are no DMV points to be assessed on a driver’s first and second conviction for Unsafe Driving. The third offense will always carry four points. If, there is a fourth offense, points will also apply if there has been not been a period of five years between the third offense and a fourth offense.
The lesson to be learned here is to know the law and know your driving record before you plead guilty to any NJ traffic violation.