Imagine: you’re traveling along the Garden State Parkway and you forget to put your blinker on to change lanes. You don’t really check your mirrors either, but you feel like it’s safe to merge into the next lane.
Meanwhile, you cut off a fellow motorist and nearly got into an accident. At a time like this, a police officer might issue you a traffic ticket for unsafe lane change.
Remember, getting a ticket for unsafe lane change can negatively affect your driving record and make things complicated for you long-term.
Contact an experienced traffic ticket attorney in NJ who can help you avoid the harsh penalties associated with this offense.
Unsafe Lane Change Basics
Unsafe lane change tickets are sometimes called failure to observe traffic lanes tickets.
According to New Jersey law, if a road is separated by clear lane markers, you can only change lanes when there is free space to do so.
If you attempt to merge into another lane and an officer deems that action unsafe, he can ticket you for unsafe lane change.
In many ways, this is a subjective determination. What seems safe to you and gives you enough room to merge might not be the same to the officer who ticketed you.
Consequently, it is best to err on the side of caution and wait until ample space exists to merge.
However, if you already are staring at a traffic ticket, be sure to contact an experienced NJ traffic ticket attorney as soon as possible.
Penalties for Unsafe Lane Change in NJ (Failure to Observe Traffic Lanes)
If you are convicted of unsafe lane change, 2 points will go on your license and you will be forced to pay a fine of $50-$200.
Be aware; if you were traveling in a safe corridor, a construction zone, or a 65 mph zone, your fine will be doubled.
Also, you can be imprisoned for up to 15 days (rarely imposed), and your car insurance will go through the roof.
It is ill-advised to handle these types of tickets on your own. Many times you will not be offered a deal and if you are it is likely to be worse than what an attorney can get you.
Defenses Against Unsafe Lane Change Tickets
Sometimes, a police officer’s determination of what is “unsafe” and what a reasonable driver would have considered “unsafe” do not necessarily line up.
When this happens, your traffic ticket lawyer will do all he can to reveal how your conduct was not only safe, but also reasonable under the circumstances.
If successful, the charge against you will not stand. After all, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving that your lane change was unsafe.
However, this argument––which could prove very successful at trial––may not get much traction during plea negotiations.
Instead a prosecutor may simply offer you unsafe operation or careless driving.
Nevertheless, a skilled traffic lawyer should be able to get this violation reduced to obstructing traffic (NJSA 39:4-67), a parking ticket, or an offense that––at least––will not cause your insurance to skyrocket.
Who Should You Contact?
If you recently received an unsafe lane change ticket for failing to observe traffic lanes (NJSA 39:4-88), contact Michael Botton of The Botton Law Firm today at 732-894-3686. His team of NJ traffic ticket attorneys have years of experience fighting traffic tickets, negotiating with prosecutors, and reducing traffic violations.