New Jersey Reckless Driving Laws

The state of New Jersey defines reckless driving as a criminal offense, which carries both the potential of incarceration and fines, and also administrative penalties including license suspension, which is determined by the discretion of the courts, or in certain instances, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

Reckless Driving in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey defines reckless driving as any operation of a motor vehicle that knowingly presents danger to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians or property, including public and private property. A lesser offense categorized as careless driving also exists, and in many cases, can be used as viable plea option.

Reckless Driving Penalties in New Jersey



Criminal Penalties

Points Applied to License

Other Administrative Penalties

Reckless driving


Incarceration of not more than three months, with fines not to exceed $500


License suspension, at discretion of courts, of up to 45 days

Careless driving


Incarceration of not more than 15 days, with fines not to exceed $200


License suspension possible, but unlikely for first offense

Impact on Your Driver's License

License suspension is possible and under New Jersey law, determined by the sentencing courts in a reckless driving case. Assuming the reckless driving was a first offense, a driver may be able to negotiate a plea agreement that entails mandatory driver education attendance in lieu of suspension. Drivers under suspension in New Jersey are not allowed conditional licenses during the suspension period.  

Dealing with a Reckless Driving Charge in New Jersey

From a criminal aspect, reckless driving charges will require the intervention and representation of legal counsel. Defendants do face the potential of incarceration, although in practice, if first offenses are not in conjunction with other criminal acts, defendants rarely are sentenced to jail time. The first legal efforts will be to try for an outright dismissal of the reckless driving charge. If this is not feasible, the highly subjective nature of reckless driving charges provides ample room for a favorable plea option involving a reduction to a lesser offense, such as careless driving, or a non-criminal traffic violation, such as speeding.

When to Get a Lawyer

Defendants in a New Jersey reckless driving cases should seek out the advice of a New Jersey reckless driving lawyer, immediately following arrest. For more information into your pending reckless driving case, including how to address criminal penalties and administrative action by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, consult with a lawyer directly.

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