DWI News: New Jersey Ranked First in “Unfair” Traffic Fines, Enforcement Practices

With Memorial Day weekend upon us, we have one observation for New Jersey motorists: The Garden State is no paradise when it comes to drunk drivers, speeders and other hapless recipients of tickets and summonses from our traffic enforcement community. Intoxicated drivers in particular beware, according to the National Motorists Association (NMA) our state goes to the head of the class when it comes to exploitation of the road-going public.

Although DWI and DUI were not addressed specifically, the NMA did rank individual states based on seventeen criteria related to traffic laws, police enforcement practices, as well as how defendants are typically treated. The rankings, according to the NMA, are “designed to provide guidance to travelers who do not want their vacation ruined by speed traps, arcane laws or ‘kangaroo’ traffic courts.”

Not surprisingly, New Jersey was found to be the state most likely to dip deeper into a driver’s wallet. With our toll roads, sobriety roadblocks and speed traps, New Jersey has left almost no stone unturned when it comes to extracting cash from motorists, says the NMA. New Jersey has also recently pushed through a red-light camera pilot project at a time when many states are banning the ticket cameras because “they’ve proven to have a negative effect on traffic safety.” Add in “driver responsibility” fees, which are ineffective and have a disproportionate effect on the poor, and we find ourselves at the top of the list. For those keeping score, here is the NMA’s top ten worst states:

  1. New Jersey
  2. Ohio
  3. Maryland
  4. Louisiana
  5. New York
  6. Illinois
  7. Delaware
  8. Virginia
  9. Washington
  10. Massachusetts

On the brighter side, drivers in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, and Kentucky were the most likely to be treated fairly by the system. The complete list of rankings can be found on the National Motorists Association website.

With high rates of enforcement in the coming months, it’s important to mention that you should never plead guilty to a DWI, DUI or Refusal charge. These offenses carry significant penalties and ramifications which will be felt for many years if you are convicted. It is foolish to assume that there is no chance of success in a drunk driving case. Yet we are constantly amazed at how many people actually plead guilty without even attempting to fight the charges in court.

If nothing could be accomplished by having legal representation in a New Jersey DWI case, then why then do most municipal court judges encourage defendants to retain a defense attorney at the time of arraignment? The reason is simple. There are many defenses to drinking and driving charges, but an individual will never have the advantage of utilizing those defenses unless they consult a knowledgeable attorney. Any questions? Call The Law Offices of John F. Marshall for a free initial consultation at 877-450-8301.


Watch Your Wallet When Driving Through These 10 States, MartinsvilleDaily.com, May 21, 2009

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