Road Rage Law in New Jersey
New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney
Many drivers get upset when they’re cut off in traffic, get stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle, or have their commutes impeded in some other manner. While it’s normal in these sorts of situations to mutter a few bad words about the other driver or beep the horn, some drivers react much more aggressively. Road rage like this can lead drivers to chase and tailgate other vehicles and even run them off the road.
New Jersey passed an aggressive driving law in 2012 in order to increase the criminal penalties for drivers who injure other people while engaging in road rage. Known as Jessica’s Law, the legislation was proposed after a 16 year old girl was paralyzed in a car accident caused by aggressive driving. The car’s driver had become so angry after being cut off by another vehicle that she gave chase and ended up crashing into a telephone poll. Despite Jessica’s severe injuries, however, the driver was sentenced to just 4 months in jail.
Under Jessica’s law, a fourth degree assault by auto offense is raised to a third degree crime if the driver was purposely operating the vehicle in an aggressive manner, directed at another vehicle, and serious injuries occurred as a result. The possible criminal penalty is increased along with the degree of the charges, from 18 months in prison and up to $10,000 for a fourth degree crime to 3 to 5 years and up to $15,000 for a third degree crime. Similarly, a disorderly persons charge for assault by auto is raised to a fourth degree offense if aggressive driving is involved, and the penalty goes up from a maximum 6 months imprisonment and $1,000 fine to up to 18 months and $10,000.
If you’ve been arrested for aggressive driving under Jessica’s Law, New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer Anthony N. Palumbo can help you contest the charges and seek to get the penalties reduced or dismissed. Contact The Law Offices of Anthony N. Palumbo at 908-643-6801 for more information and to schedule a free appointment.