When you get a New Jersey traffic ticket, you might think that the cost of paying the ticket is far less than the cost of hiring a lawyer to fight it for you. After all, contract lawyers and other attorneys are expensive, right?
In reality, that is totally false.
If the only variable you are looking at is how much your fine is, you are missing the largest piece of the puzzle: the effect of a NJ traffic ticket on auto insurance.
How Much Will My Auto Insurance Go Up?
We have good news and bad news. The good news is that fines for New Jersey traffic tickets are relatively low compared to those in states like New York.
The bad news is, New Jersey drivers pay more in car insurance hikes for traffic tickets than motorists from most other states.
InsuranceQuotes.com performed extensive research on the average increases in a driver’s premium for insurance.
They even have a calculator that tabulates how much your premium will increase based on the state you live in, what your current premium is, and what traffic violation you allegedly committed.
According to that calculator, getting convicted of DUI/DWI in NJ will increase your auto insurance premium by 131%. That means if you have a modest policy of $1,000 per year, your new rate will skyrocket to $2,309 per year!
Here is a breakdown of common NJ traffic violations and how much your insurance will go up if you are convicted of them:
- DUI/DWI: 131%
- Reckless Driving: 88%
- Speeding 31+ mph Over the Limit: 56%
- Careless Driving: 55%
- Speeding 16-30 mph Over the Limit: 46%
- Improper Passing: 46%
- Following Too Closely (“Tailgating”): 45%
- Failure to Signal: 35%
- Failure to Stop: 35%
- Failure to Yield: 35%
- Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian: 35%
- Violating Rail Road Rules: 35%
- Speeding 1-15 mph Over the Limit: 34%
- Driving the Wrong Way: 27%
As you can see, these insurance hikes not only are enormous, but they also must be accounted for in the ultimate equation when it comes to deciding whether to hire an attorney to fight your ticket.
How Long Does an Auto Insurance Hike Last?
It is best to talk directly to your specific insurance carrier since each person’s situation will vary slightly.
However, on average, an insurance hike can last about 4 years. Sometimes it can be even longer.
After all, it is much easier for your insurance carrier to raise your rate than it is for them to lower it.
At the end of the day, for a routine traffic ticket, you might end up paying thousands of dollars in insurance alone!
For instance, say you pled guilty to a stop sign ticket in NJ because you wrongly believed it only was going to cost you $85.
In reality, you also face an insurance hike of 35% that could endure for 4 years (and potentially longer).
If your yearly premium is only $1,000, it now jumped up by $347. Multiply that by 4 years, and you are talking about $1,388! That’s a far cry from $85.
Remember, be sure to factor in the long-term cost of skyrocketing auto insurance before making any hasty decisions to plead guilty to your traffic tickets.
Who Should You Contact?
If you recently received a New Jersey traffic ticket, contact Michael Botton of The Botton Law Firm today at 732-503-8991. His team of NJ traffic ticket attorneys have years of experience fighting traffic tickets, negotiating with prosecutors, and reducing traffic violations.