Fight Traffic Ticket in New Jersey

SUMMARY: How to Fight a New Jersey Traffic Ticket

If you plan to fight your NJ traffic ticket, you'll need to submit a "not guilty" plea in court. Your moving violation may already require you to appear in court, but if not, be sure to schedule a hearing. Refer to your NJ traffic ticket or contact the relevant traffic court for specific details.

If you believe you were cited unjustly for a New Jersey traffic ticket—especially if you have the proper evidence to back it up—you can plead not guilty and fight your ticket in court.

Below you'll find out more about that process and what you can expect when you fight your traffic ticket in New Jersey.

Pay Ticket
(Plead Guilty)

  • Pay the fine.
  • Accumulate driving record points.
  • Risk license suspension (depending on points, violation).
  • Possibly experience higher auto insurance rates.
  • Enroll in driving course to offset points and possibly get an auto insurance discount.

Learn more about
paying your traffic ticket »

Fight Ticket
(Plead Not Guilty)

  • Contest the ticket during a hearing.
  • Hire a traffic ticket lawyer or represent yourself.
  • Face no penalties if found not guilty.
  • Appeal the guilty verdict (if applicable).

How to Plead Not Guilty to Your NJ Ticket

When you plead “not guilty," you're accepting your right to stand before a NJ judge and contest your traffic citation.

Generally, you can appear in court on the date printed on your traffic ticket to inform the judge you want to plead not guilty and have a hearing.

HOWEVER, some courts prefer notification that you wish to fight your traffic ticket within 3 days of the court date printed on the ticket. Contact the NJ municipal court dealing with your citation directly if you're not sure how soon you'll need to notify them of your intent to plead not guilty.

Once you inform the court that you'd like to contest your traffic ticket, a clerk will either tell you to appear on the date on the ticket, or schedule a traffic ticket hearing date.

Before You Plead

Before choosing to fight your New Jersey traffic ticket, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have legal proof to contest the ticket and the means to properly present that evidence in court?
  • Will a conviction add points to your driving record?
    • If so, could those additional points result in your license being suspended?
  • Do you have the time to appear in court (possibly on multiple occasions)?
  • Are you facing jail time?
    • Jail time is usually reserved for serious violations such as DWI and DUI.

To learn more, check out our guide to when fighting a traffic ticket is necessary.

Rescheduling or Postponing Your Hearing

New Jersey affords all defendants the right to a “reasonable postponement" of their hearings.

Typically, judges handle requests for postponements first. This means you can show up on the original court date (the date printed on your ticket) and request a postponement for your traffic ticket hearing.

However, if you can't make it on the date printed on your traffic citation, contact the NJ municipal court as soon as you realize you need to reschedule or postpone your court hearing.

Doing so can help you avoid:

How to Fight a New Jersey Ticket in Court

Generally, your day in court to fight your NJ traffic ticket will include the following steps:

  • You'll speak to a state prosecutor to try and work out a plea agreement.
    • A plea agreement entails that you plead guilty to your traffic charges in exchange for lighter penalties.
  • If you can't reach a plea agreement, you'll need to appear before the appropriate municipal court judge.
  • The court may postpone your case if you need to hire a traffic ticket attorney before making your case to the judge.
    • The court will automatically assign you a public defender if:
      • Your traffic violation could result in jail time.
      • You cannot afford to hire a traffic ticket lawyer.
  • You'll need to present all of your evidence (and witnesses) to the judge, who will then decide if you're guilty or not guilty.
Your Ticket Can Affect Your Insurance

Did you know your insurance rates could skyrocket once you plead guilty to your charges? Before entering into a plea agreement, make sure you're fully aware of how traffic tickets can affect your auto insurance rates.

Consequences of Fighting Your NJ Ticket

There are various consequences (both good and bad) you might face as a result of fighting your New Jersey traffic ticket. The outcome of your case dictates what lies ahead for you.

If You Lose Your Case

If the judge convicts you despite your argument and/or evidence, the traffic ticket penalties you'll face could be any of the following:

  • Fines.
    • You may need to pay all fines on the day of trial. If you don't have the means to pay the entire amount that day, the judge may allow you to pay in installments over a period of time.
  • Points added to your driving record.
  • Jail time.
  • License suspension.
  • Required enrollment in a New Jersey impaired driving program.
  • Community service.

NOTE: If you have a valid commercial driver's license, you MUST notify your employer of any traffic violations within 30 days of conviction.

File an Appeal

In New Jersey, you can appeal a guilty verdict within 20 days of receiving it.

A judge with the NJ Superior Court for your county will read the transcript of your original hearing, as well as view any original legal documents and evidence (typically, new evidence and testimony aren't allowed) and make a judgment.

Filing an appeal for your traffic ticket costs $100 PLUS the cost of transcription services. Use the How to Appeal a Decision of the Municipal Court (Form CN 10559) packet. It provides exact instructions, fees, and forms to use.

Reduce Your Points with Traffic School

Ease the pain of that traffic conviction by enrolling in NJ traffic school—completing a course could possibly REDUCE the amount of points that show up on your driving record.

If You Win Your Case

If the judge agrees that you're not guilty of the traffic violation:

  • All charges are dropped.
  • You won't have to endure any penalties or pay any fines.
  • Points will not be added to your driving record.
  • You won't have to pay higher auto insurance rates.

And remember—the best way to ensure you're fully prepared for your day in court is to consult a ticket lawyer who knows the ins and outs of winning cases just like yours. Good luck!

DMV.ORG BBB Business Review