Is reckless driving considered a crime in New Jersey?

car on road excessive speeding reckless driving

The unsafe and illegal driving practice known as reckless driving is often the cause of many tragic auto accidents. Although reckless driving is considered a traffic violation, this type of offense is quite different from other moving violations. In some states, reckless driving is considered a criminal offense because of the danger it imposes on the safety of those on the road. However, in New Jersey, reckless driving is not regarded as a criminal offense. Nevertheless, this serious offense carries significant penalties that have long-term negative repercussions. In the unfortunate event that you have been charged with reckless driving, contact a determined Monmouth County Reckless Driving Attorney who can help defend your interests in court. In addition, please continue reading to learn about the potential penalties for this serious traffic offense.

What is reckless driving in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, a person who operates a vehicle “heedlessly, in willful or wanton disregard of the rights or safety of others, in a manner that endangers, or is likely to endanger, a person or property,” is considered to be culpable of reckless driving. In some states, reckless driving is considered a crime. However, in New Jersey, reckless driving is technically not considered a crime. Rather, it is treated as a serious traffic violation. Nevertheless, reckless driving still carries harsh penalties that can have long-term negative repercussions.

What actions could constitute this type of conviction?

As mentioned above, when a motorist drives a vehicle in an unsafe manner that they know or should reasonably know endangers those on the road, yet still does so anyway, is considered to be guilty of reckless driving. Several unsafe driving practices could constitute a reckless driving conviction. In New Jersey, the following actions could constitute reckless driving:

  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Excessive speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Texting while driving
  • Failure to use headlights at night or in inclement weather conditions
  • Making illegal turns or lane changes

All of the above-listed actions as well as several other unsafe driving behaviors could constitute a reckless driving charge. Essentially, any action behind the wheel that unreasonably endangers those on the road could be considered reckless driving.

What are the potential penalties?

In New Jersey, reckless driving is a serious offense and motorists issued this type of ticket will face serious penalties. If a motorist is issued a first-offense reckless driving ticket they will face fines of up to $200, potential license suspension, up to 60 days of jail time, and 5 points added to their driving record. If this is a motorist’s second or subsequent reckless driving offense they will be subject to harsher penalties such as fines of up to $500, potential license suspension, and 90 days of jail time. In addition, reckless driving can potentially cause a motorist’s auto insurance rates to increase dramatically.

In the unfortunate event that you have been issued a reckless driving ticket, please don’t hesitate to contact our seasoned attorneys who can help you avoid these harsh penalties. Allow our dedicated firm to fight on your behalf to seek a favorable outcome.