Unsafe Lane Change Traffic Tickets in New Jersey

The action of improperly changing lanes can lead to a traffic ticket and harsh penalties in New Jersey. It can even start an investigation into a potential DUI.

Unsafe Lane Change Traffic Tickets in Union NJAnyone driving on any public roadway in New Jersey is expected to obey all traffic laws as set forth by the New Jersey Statutes Title 39, which enumerates laws applicable to motor vehicle and traffic regulation.  Any infraction of the code allows the police to stop the car and investigate the code violation.  An Unsafe Lane Change or failure to drive on “marked lanes” will result in a motor vehicle ticket under NJSA 39:4-88.

Believing it to be a relatively harmless ticket, many people plead guilty.  But the fact is that a guilty plea to an Unsafe Lane Change ticket can cause financial hardships, jail time, points on your license, an increase in insurance costs, and consequences not contemplated by the average driver.

Hiring an attorney experienced in defending against traffic offenses and who regularly appears in municipal court can reduce your chances of experiencing harsh consequences. Attorney Edward S. Cooper vast experience in municipal defense and particularly traffic violation defense against tickets for unsafe lane change, careless driving, DWI, driving with a suspended license, reckless driving, and similar offenses. We work hard and strive to minimize the impact that a ticket can have on your life.  If you have received a traffic summons in Berkeley Heights, Rahway, Elizabeth, Roselle Park, Union Township, Mountainside, or any other surrounding town in Union County, call now at (908) 481-4625 to discuss the particulars of your case and how we can defend you.

What is an Unsafe Lane Change Offense in NJ?

As noted, every person driving in New Jersey must obey the traffic law. As such, police are charged with the responsibility of keeping the roads safe and they do so by pulling people over who are alleged to have committed infractions.  For an unsafe lane change, the most commonly cited law NJSA 39:4-88, Traffic on Unmarked Lanes, requires drivers to:

  1. Keep right unless passing another vehicle or making a left turn;
  2. Stay in their own lane and not change lanes unless it is safe for the driver to change lanes;
  3. Keep right unless passing another vehicle and not drive in the center lane and;
  4. Refrain from impeding the flow of traffic.

There are of course other sections and nuances to the law but the above is a general framework for issuing tickets.  Any alleged failure to heed this law allows the police to pull you over.  In representing so many clients over the years, we are familiar with the fact patterns cited by police in issuing such tickets.

What are examples of how an Unsafe Lane Change happens?

All drivers in New Jersey have undoubtedly experienced troopers parked on the side of the road watching traffic.  Some officers hide behind bushes, trees, and entrance ramps while others are driving on the highway and observing motorists.  During the patrol, an officer may see a driver crossing the white lines on the roadway and not staying in his or her lane.  Sometimes this happens because the driver is texting, talking on the phone, or not paying attention and he does not realize he has not consistently stayed in his lane.  Other times, a driver may veer in and out of a lane unsafely while not using a turn signal.  In DUI cases, a driver may go over the fog line and cross into the shoulder and swerve back into the main lain.  Any such actions as observed by police will give them cause to pull you over, give you a ticket, thereby forcing you to face potential consequences.

What are the penalties and fines for an unsafe lane change in New Jersey?

All motor vehicle code infractions have potential penalties if you plead or are found guilty by a Judge.  If you are charged with the offense, you will be required to attend court and may have a trial or plead guilty.  A finding of guilt can result in the following consequences:

  • Fine of $50-$250 and these can be doubled if the infraction was committed in a construction zone,65mph zone, or safe corridor;
  • As much as 15 days in jail;
  • 2 points on your license;
  • Court costs and fees;
  • Increases in insurance surcharges and premiums.

The penalties may not stop there. As harsh as it may seem, the fact is that in most cases, other tickets are issued in conjunction with an unsafe lane change that can make matters much worse.

Unsafe Lane Change – A Pretext for DUI stops

What are the penalties and fines for an unsafe lane change in New Jersey?A police officer can stop you and any driver for a traffic violation.  The violation as alleged does not have to be true.  Instead, it must simply be alleged by the officer that he saw you commit an infraction and that infraction gave him the probable cause to pull you over.

This is often the reason officers use in cases where an officer believes that a person is Driving Under the Influence (DUI).  He may observe the driver swerving or driving in an unsafe manner.  He then pulls the driver over and checks for signs of impairment (bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol, slow speech, fumbling or slow movements, etc.).  The ensuing tickets are much worse than just a simple Unsafe Lane Change. A DUI under NJSA 39:4-50 can cause you to lose your license, spend time in jail, and be so costly that you cannot get out from under. But there are ways to fight the ticket and an attorney can help.

How can an Attorney Help in an Unsafe Lane Change Case?

New Jersey Attorney Edward Cooper will comb through police reports, obtain the videos, and review all evidence for inconsistencies or problems with the state’s case.  For a pretextual Unsafe Lane Change ticket in a DUI, he can potentially challenge the probable cause of the stop that gave rise to the DUI.  For example, the video may show that there were no other cars on the road at the time and that you safely changed lanes and had no need for a signal.  Similarly, the video may show that you did in fact maintain your lane and that there was no need to pull you over. Even if there was some infraction, in some circumstances, he can negotiate on your behalf and reduce the ticket to a no-point ticket, lower fines, or even a dismissal.

Contact Traffic Violation Attorney Edward Cooper to Discuss Your Unsafe Lane Change Ticket

Talk to our Union County traffic defense lawyer before going to court or pleading guilty. Before attempting to handle this on your own, call now to discuss what we can do for you.

If you have an improper lane change case or related motor vehicle violations arising in New Providence, Westfield, Kenilworth, Woodbridge or another town in Middlesex or Union County, NJ, contact our Linden office at (908) 481-4625 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation where we will listen to your case and start preparing your defense.