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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 38755
Experience:  Run my own practice.
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I was charged with careless driving. I hired a lawyer who apparently

Resolved Question:

I was charged with careless driving. I hired a lawyer who apparently managed to get a plea bargain of 'unsafe operation' and told me I had to pay $639 to the municipal court. From my research, even at the maximum fine (with court costs and the $250 surcharge) the fine should be $439. Not sure where the other 200 is from. I would really like to know where that is going. This is my first offense for ANY traffic violation in the state of New Jersey.

It also seems like this is extremely similar to careless driving. I drive a truck for a living and a conviction for careless driving is grounds for automatic and immediate termination. I need to know what I can do or what I need to do.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Traffic Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you. I also happen to be a licensed New Jersey professional

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Are you currently online with me?

Customer:

I am online now.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Great, welcome back. You were asking about additional costs.

Customer:

That was part of it, yes.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Typically those costs are fees to local emergency associations, police departments, and so forth.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

While a fine itself may be $100, the additional various additional costs typically bump up the fine another $100-$200 in such additional costs.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

This is why seeing a citation fine amount is somewhat confusing and potentially incorrect--those other fees are likewise included in a conviction.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Does that make sense?

Customer:

Yes, I understand that. I was told to pay 639 to the city court. After looking around online, I found that the fine, is supposed to be max of 156. Then a 250 surcharge plus court fees of on average 33. That only adds up to 439.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Then there are police association 'fees', local costs to go toward EMT and other emergency services, and other fines. That is what turns almost any fine into a bloated mess.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Such fees are typically based on percentage of the cost of the fine, so the larger the 'base' fine, the larger the amount of such fees that are attached to the initial citation

Dimitry K., Esq. :

each county and each township may have their own additional costs that were put in place by legislation.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Such costs are typically defined on your citation as it has a breakdown of what the costs are that the courts require from the citation.

Customer:

Alright. I guess that makes sense. I was wondering also exactly what "unsafe operation" is. It appears to be a division of careless driving and really seems like its pretty much the exact same thing, just that they don't tack points on to my license. Is that accurate.?

Dimitry K., Esq. :

That is about right. There are two standards of such driving, 'reckless' and 'careless'. The former is the far more serious of the two.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Both indicate negligence but the former has points and heavier fines associated with it.

Customer:

With you being licensed in New Jersey, from any of your experiences, is that the best I'm likely to get is that plea bargain?

Customer:

I'm just trying to do whatever I can to keep my job.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

If I may ask, what other points or convictions do you have on your record?

Customer:

Last moving violation that I got that's on my record was back in 2008.

Customer:

There is an accident from 2011 and now the accident that I was cited for careless driving.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

This then appears to be a fairly good option. The $250 payment is something you can take only every et amount of years, and is the first thing the prosecutors offer.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

It happens to be a great option if all you want to focus on are not keeping points on your record.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

If the courts agree to drop your careless to a speeding (which is possible), that would be the most ideal option, and something your attorney might be able to accomplish for you.

Customer:

My biggest concern is not the points, it's keeping my job.

Customer:

Careless or reckless driving are automatic termination offenses. And unsafe appears to be the same thing.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

unsafe is similar, I agree

Dimitry K., Esq. :

But it is a matter of degree

Dimitry K., Esq. :

that is something you would need to explain to your employer if convicted

Customer:

The officer gave me the ticket because I was trying to go around a bridge that said it was too low for my truck to fit. I thought the sign said the street I took was the one I was supposed to use to go around it, but there were too many cars on the road and I couldn't make a turn which forced me onto a residential street with a sign saying no trucks and another car was there and I scraped a fence with my trailer. Just because of the 'no trucks' sign, he gave me a careless driving ticket.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

'unsafe driving' may be improper change of lanes or not maintaining distance (for example), while 'reckless' is driving 40 miles above the limit and potentially causing an accident

Dimitry K., Esq. :

that is really the difference

Customer:

He actually didn't even see me do anything, as I was parked waiting for them to come make a report.

Customer:

I understand I would need to speak with the company and you can't speak on their behalf, I'm just trying to get as much information before I inform them.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

he was right--you were essentially failing to follow the limits of the road signs. That is careless--it is a far less serious offense than reckless but is the correct citation.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

sure thing, that is why I am here--to clarify

Customer:

Even though I was trying to avoid a collision with a bridge, it's still careless? The sign prohibiting trucks was on the next block from where I turned.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

yes, it is. you were on a road you were not supposed to be on. That is sufficient, regardless of the main reason

Customer:

Okay, I understand.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

traffic offenses are generally 'strict liability' offenses

Dimitry K., Esq. :

what that means is that intent to break the law is not required to show a violation.

Customer:

What do you mean by that?

Dimitry K., Esq. :

For example...

Customer:

Oh, sorry.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

going 56 in a 55 is a violation even if it was due to a gust of wind when you were going downhill

Dimitry K., Esq. :

that is still technically a violation even there was no intent to speed

Dimitry K., Esq. :

all the officer has to show that you were going 56, and that is enough

Customer:

Or, in my case, just see that a truck was on a road with a posted prohibition... Fair enough, I suppose.

Customer:

So you said it was possible that they may change it again to speeding instead? Is it likely at all/

Dimitry K., Esq. :

right, exactly

Dimitry K., Esq. :

well, the latter is based on the attorney you have and his ability to speak with the prosecutor

Dimitry K., Esq. :

the other party may choose to drop the citation or agree to a different citation--it all depends on how the prosecutor is willing to negotiate.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

I cannot promise but it is possible.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

Hope that helps and good luck to you.

Customer:

Alright, thank you for your time.

Dimitry K., Esq. :

You are most welcome, hope I was able to assist

Dimitry K., Esq. :

If satisfied with my information, kindly do not forget to positively rate my answers so that I can obtain credit for my work. Thank you!

Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 38755
Experience: Run my own practice.
Dimitry K., Esq. and 2 other Traffic Law Specialists are ready to help you

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