The Truth About NJ’s Zero Point Ticket Law and Unsafe Driving

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.