Plead Not Guilty to NJ Traffic Violations

If you receive a traffic ticket in New Jersey and believe it is unfair, you can plead not guilty and contest it in court. Knowing your rights and the process can help you prepare a strong case.

This article will guide you through the steps of pleading not guilty, what to expect, and how to increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Contesting a traffic ticket may seem daunting, but it is manageable with the right information. Whether your violation is minor or severe, understanding the differences and knowing when to seek legal help can make a significant difference. 

We will cover everything from deciding whether to contest your ticket to the appeal process if the verdict is not in your favor.

When to Defend Against a Traffic Violation

Simple Traffic Violations:

These are less severe and often easier to contest. Examples include:

  • Using a no-passing zone
  • Careless driving
  • Improper passing
  • Speeding
  • Not signaling a turn

These violations can still result in points on your license and fines. For example, improper passing can add four points to your record, leading to higher fines and possible suspension.

Serious Traffic Violations:

These are more severe and can lead to bigger penalties like fines, license suspension, or jail time. Examples include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving while suspended
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding (15 miles+ over the limit)
  • Driving without insurance

For these violations, it’s often best to get a lawyer.

Deciding to Plead Not Guilty

Before you decide to plead not guilty, consider:

  • Do you have evidence to support your case?
  • Will the violation add points to your license, leading to suspension?
  • Can you attend multiple court appearances if needed?
  • Could the violation result in jail time?

If you are prepared for these scenarios, you can proceed with contesting your ticket.

Step-by-Step Guide to Plead Not Guilty

Plead not guilty steps

Notify the Court:

  • Inform the NJ Municipal Court within three days of the ticket date that you want to plead not guilty.
  • Call or visit the court to schedule a hearing.

Prepare Your Case:

  • Gather evidence and witnesses.
  • Consider hiring an attorney, especially for serious violations.

Court Appearance:

  • Present your case to the judge.
  • Discuss plea agreements with the prosecutor if available.

Verdict and Consequences:

Positive Outcome:

  • Charges are dropped.
  • No fines or points added to your license.

Negative Outcome:

  • You may face fines, points on your license, suspension, or jail time.

Appealing a Negative Verdict

If you receive a guilty verdict, you can appeal it:

Fill Out Forms:

  • Form A (Notice of Municipal Court Appeal)
  • Form B (Transcript Request)

Submit Forms:

  • Send Form A to the Municipal Court within 20 days of the verdict.
  • Deliver a copy of Form A to the prosecutor within five days.
  • Fill out Form C (Certification of Timely Filing) and send it to the Criminal Division Manager at the Superior Court within five days.

Pay the Fee:

  • There is a $100 fee for filing an appeal. If you cannot afford it, you can request a waiver.

Tips for a Successful Defense

  • Documentation: Keep all records and evidence organized.
  • Legal Advice: Seek help from a lawyer if needed.
  • Stay Informed: Know the laws and your rights.


Contesting a traffic ticket in New Jersey can be challenging, but understanding the process and being well-prepared can help you defend your rights. Follow the steps carefully, seek legal advice if necessary, and stay informed to achieve the best possible outcome. 

Related Article: More about NJMCDIRECT


Can I change my plea from guilty to not guilty after initially pleading guilty?

Yes, you can request the court to change your plea, but it must be done before sentencing. Contact the court as soon as possible to initiate this process.

Will pleading not guilty affect my insurance rates?

Pleading not guilty does not directly affect your insurance rates. However, if found guilty, points added to your license can lead to higher insurance premiums.

Can I represent myself in a serious traffic violation case?

While you have the right to represent yourself, it is highly recommended to hire an attorney for serious traffic violations due to the complex legal procedures and potential severe consequences.