If you drove faster than the speed limit, you probably had someplace you wanted to be. Getting pulled over for a traffic citation can create an additional sense of urgency. You might be so eager to move on from the encounter that you don’t really look things over until later. That’s when you realize the ticket isn’t actually a ticket.
Some people who thought that all they did was violate the speed limit learn that the police officer felt that their speed wasn’t just too fast, but outright reckless. When does a traffic infraction shift from being a simple speeding citation to a case of reckless driving?
How New Jersey defines reckless driving
Unlike speeding, which results in a ticket and is a civil infraction, reckless driving a misdemeanor. You may have to pay a fine of up to $200 and could face a sentence of up to 60 days in jail for a first offense. There will also be court costs, increased insurance rates and other expenses.
Additionally, you could have a criminal record for the rest of your life just for driving too fast. Under New Jersey law, police officers can charge someone with reckless driving any time their behavior at the wheel display a wanton disregard for the safety and property of others. High speeds, especially if combined with other factors, like being on the wrong side of the road, might lead to reckless driving charges instead of a ticket.
Anyone accused of reckless driving can potentially defend against that charge. Not only might it be possible for you to convince the courts to reduce the infraction to a speeding ticket, but you might be able to avoid penalties completely with the right legal assistance.