Reckless driving can be considered a criminal offense; careless driving is considered a traffic violation, but both are serious charges that can cost you money and points on your driver’s license. A conviction on reckless driving charges will almost certainly lead to an increase in your auto insurance rates and adds 5 points to your New Jersey driver’s license. While a conviction of careless driving can also lead to an increase in insurance rates, careless driving only adds 2 points to your New Jersey driver’s license and the penalties are less severe.
Even minor traffic violations and municipal offenses can have a serious impact on your driving privileges and your criminal record. Many people do not think to hire an attorney when it comes to a traffic violation or a related offense, and instead choose to pay the fine or plead “guilty” without trying to challenge the traffic citation or moving violation offense. At Clark & Clark, we offer aggressive advocacy to protect the rights of our clients facing municipal court and traffic violations offenses. Please call 732-303-7857 for a free case review.
Know Your Rights in a Reckless/Careless Driving Case
It is your right to challenge a traffic or municipal offense and protect your rights. We can help you defend against a reckless or careless driving charges and retain your driving privileges by beginning immediately with a careful analysis of the police investigation and all possible defenses to the charge.
In most cases, motor vehicle related offenses result in fines, revoked driving privileges, or points that could result in an increase in your car insurance premiums. Certain motor vehicle offenses, however, may involve county jail time depending on a person’s prior record.
Reckless Driving vs. Careless Driving
The following chart compares reckless driving charges with careless driving charges. It is at the police officer’s discretion as to whether to charge you with reckless driving or careless driving, and it is possible that we may be able to have charges reduced or dismissed to help preserve your driving and criminal records.
Criteria Reckless Driving Charges Careless Driving Charges Charge Can be charged as a criminal offense. Traffic violation. Can affect insurance rates? Yes. Yes. Points on Driver’s License 5 points. 2 points. Penalties and Fines First conviction for reckless driving: you may be sentenced to up to 60 days in jail and receive a fine between $50 and $200.Second and repeat offenders: penalty increases to up to 90 days in jail and a fine between $100 and $500.The judge has the discretion to decide whether or not to suspend your driver’s license. Maximum jail sentence of up to 15 days, the maximum fine is $200.Unlikely suspension unless your total driver’s license points exceed 12, or other more serious charges were also filed (such as DWI.) New Jersey Statute 39:4-96. Reckless driving; punishment39:4-96. A person who drives 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, shall be guilty of reckless driving and be punished by imprisonment in the county or municipal jail for a period of not more than 60 days, or by a fine of not less than $50.00 or
more than $200.00, or both.On a second or subsequent conviction he shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than three months, or by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500, or both.Amended 1955,c.220,s.1; 1982,c.45,s.3;
1995,c.70,s.2. 39:4-97. Careless driving39:4-97. 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.Amended 1951,c.23,s.54; 1955, c.220,s.2; 1995, c.70,s.3.