New NJ Cell Phone Ticket Laws and License Suspensions
On July 1, 2014, New Jersey’s cell phone ticket penalties increased dramatically to include higher fines for first, second and third (or subsequent) offenses. The change also included a critical provision affording municipal court judges the discretion to suspend a driver’s license for up to 90 days for third or subsequent cell phone ticket violations.
“For a third or subsequent violation, the court, in its discretion, may order the person to forfeit the right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period of 90 days.”
Given the language of this statute, defendants found guilty of the cell phone ticket NJ statute (N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3) may present argument to the judge to reduce or avoid this discretionary suspension entirely. Careful thought must be put into this, as it could make or break the argument against a license suspension of up to three months (90 days).
Fines for Cell Phone Tickets in NJ (As of July 1, 2014)
New Jersey raised the costs of cell phone ticket violations beginning on July 1, 2014, and the increased fines and penalties apply to all cases sentenced after this date — it is not a defense that the cell phone ticket was issued prior to July 1, 2014.
- For a first* offense, the fine must be within $200 and $400.
- For a second* offense, the fine must be within $400 and $600.
- For a third or subsequent* cell phone ticket violation, the fine must be between $600 and $800, and the court may impose a suspension of the driver’s license for up to 90 days.
* If the second offense occurs more than 10 years after the first offense, the court must treat the second conviction as a first offense for sentencing purposes. Likewise, if a third offense occurs more than 10 years after the second offense, the court must treat the third conviction as a second offense for sentencing purposes.
NJ Lawyers to Fight Cell Phone Ticket License Suspensions
As with any ticket, there are many ways to defend, downgrade, and even dismiss alleged violation.
Cell phones maintain an enormous amount of data, and many times, proof that you were or were not using a phone can be found within the device itself. Furthermore, call logs both on the phone, as well as in a mobile service provider’s transmission records could help exculpate a driver facing a cell phone ticket in New Jersey.
Even if you have no defense to the operation of your handheld phone while driving, the new language of the NJ cell phone ticket statute allows for argument that could reduce or eliminate the discretionary license suspension afforded to judges for third or subsequent offenses.
Visit our NJ Cell Phone Ticket FAQs blog post, or contact one of our attorneys for more information.
Because of the increased penalties, it may greatly benefit someone charged with using a cell phone to hire an experienced lawyer, such as those at the Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall. Contact us at 1 (877) 450-8301 anytime, 24/7, to speak with an attorney for a free, no-obligation consultation.