Help - Nj Traffic Tickets.
Q: I have an interesting case. My vehicle, with expired insurance and registration, was parked in a gravel median outside of my apartment. The gravel area is owned by the township and has a sign stating "no parking as per township ordanance." Despite this sign, cars are regularly parked in this area - which is located just off of the street. The "parking area" is not lined for parking and it is not intended to be driven on (although it is gravel). In any case, my vehicle was issued 4 tickets for being in this location (unregistered vehicle, uninsured vehicle, fictitious plates and failure to inspect). I was not present at the time the tickets were issued. I also have not driven this vehicle or intended to drive this vehicle since the insurance, registration and inspection had lapsed. Although the vehicle may have been parked in violation of the township ordanance (for which I was NOT given a ticket), I contend that the tickets issued are not valid given that the vehicle was not being operated (nor intended to be operated) at the time, and that the vehicle was not on a public road or highway at the time of issuance. I was wondering if anyone could comment on this situation - especially a lawyer. I have already plead "not guilty" and have a court date scheduled in 3 weeks. Should I get a lawyer (considering the penalties for these tickets include loss of lisence) or does my defense seem adequate? I really think this cop was just trying to meet his quota with these tickets and I dont think he has much ground to stand upon.
A: -The laws in most states say that in order to have a vehicle on the roadways, whether in operating condtion or not, vehicle must be plated, and if the state requires it, insurance. Even though you may think the gravel area is "no man's land", it is the property of the township and they have the right of way. Being the fact that you already showed your tenacity at thumbing your nose at the law by parking illegally, you now want to challenge the tickets? The officer already cut you some slack in this. He did not cite you for the illegal parking, which he could do and also he did not impound your vehicle. Was the license plate on the vehicle current? Since you got a charge of "fictitious plates", this generally means no current plate. Who's fault is that? I'm not a lawyer, but I have beat 4 traffic tickets in 4 different N.J. municipal courts. (And I am currently in California.) As to whether you should get a lawyer, I would say "absolutely". But it's going to cost you at least $500. As for the separate violations, look at the tickets to see what specific statute you are being charged with violating. It will be Title 39, and you can consult it online at the N.J. Legislature website. The "unregistered vehicle" charge might be 39:3-4, in which case you may be able to beat this one. It says [in part]: "Except as hereinafter provided, every resident of this State and every nonresident whose automobile or motorcycle shall be driven in this State shall, before using such vehicle on the public highways, register the same, and no automobile or motorcycle shall be driven unless so registered. "No person owning or having control over any unregistered vehicle shall permit the same to be parked or to stand on a public highway." The issue will be whether the area in which it was parked can be classified as a "public highway". See if you can find a definition in the statutes for that term. With regard to "fictitious plates", that generally refers to plates that had been issued for another vehicle and not the vehicle they are on. If the plates that are on it are expired, they are EXPIRED plates, not fictitious. Again, I am not a lawyer, and the above does not constitute legal advice. Please consult a qualified lawyer for such. -The term "fictitious" is used, in many states, because the plate had not been renewed, therefor, making the vehicle without a properly registered plate. If the plate expires say on July 31, on August 1st you can be cited for "fictitious plates" even though the plate was properly registered to that vehicle. There may be a secondary item which may say something like "fictitious - expired". As opposed to saying "fictitious - not plated".