This Statute is frequently used in plea negotiations as an amendment to reduce the points on a violation to Zero. The Statute is not unlimited in its use and can only be used two times in five years. If a driver mistakenly uses it a third or greater time then four motor vehicle points will be accessed.
Steven P. Lombardi is a highly experienced New Jersey Ticket Attorney. He is a Ticket Lawyer practicing in all New Jersey Municipal Courts.
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The Statute reads in full:
39:4-97.2 Driving, operating a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner, offense created; fines; surcharge.
1. a. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, it shall be unlawful for any person to drive or operate a motor vehicle in an unsafe manner likely to endanger a person or property.
b.A person convicted of a first offense under subsection a. shall be subject to a fine of not less than $50.00 or more than $150.00 and shall not be assessed any motor vehicle penalty points pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1982, c.43 (C.39:5-30.5).
c.A person convicted of a second offense under subsection a. shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100.00 or more than $250.00 and shall not be assessed any motor vehicle penalty points pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1982, c.43 (C.39:5-30.5).
d.A person convicted of a third or subsequent offense under subsection a. shall be subject to a fine of not less than $200.00 or more than $500.00 and shall be assessed motor vehicle penalty points pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1982
e.An offense committed under this section that occurs more than five years after the prior offense shall not be considered a subsequent offense for the purpose of assessing motor vehicle penalty points under subsection d. of this section.
f.In addition to any fine, fee or other charge imposed pursuant to law, the court shall assess a person convicted of an offense under subsection a. of this section a surcharge of $250 which shall be collected by the court and distributed to the Division of Revenue in the Department of the Treasury as a New Jersey Merit Rating Plan surcharge pursuant to subparagraph (a) of paragraph (2) of subsection b. of section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35).
The other problem with using this amendment is that the fines are large. For a first offense a fine of usually $156 plus $33 of court costs and a $250 State Surcharge is the usual penalty. However if you are facing Insurance or Motor Vehicle Surcharges or need to protect your CDL License this may be the best option.
NJSA 39:4-97.3 - DISTRACTED DRIVING / USE OF CELL PHONE OR TEXTING WHILE DRIVING
The Statute governing Distracted Driving or using a Cell Phone while driving has recently been amended and the new law took effect on July 1, 2014.
NJSA 39:4-97.3 is the Distracted Driving Statute which has just been amended to have more of teeth. The new Statute calls for increased fines as well as a possible license suspension for a third offense. The fines and penalties are as follows.
First-time offenders would have to pay a fine of between $200 and $400. Drivers convicted of a second offense would have to pay between $400 and $600. Motorists convicted of a third and subsequent offenses would face a fine of $600 to $800, might lose their licenses for 90 days and have three points assessed against their driving records.
Some police departments plan to increase patrols.
Police issued roughly 3,000 summonses statewide for cellphone and electronic device violations as part of a crackdown in April.