Insurance and Liability Issues Facing Uber and Lyft Drivers

July 12, 2014 · Posted in Blog, License / Insurance Blog 

Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft have dramatically grown in popularity in New Jersey. These services pride themselves in making it easier and cheaper to obtain taxi services. Ridesharing services boast that they can operate at a cost of up to 50% less than the price of regular taxi cabs in some cities.  Unlike taxis, however, customers do not hail Uber or Lyft drivers on the street.  Instead, customers download the Uber or Lyft app to their smartphone and arrange for and pay for the driver through the app.  Ridesharing service  drivers consist primarily of individuals with other jobs who moonlight their personal, driver-for-hire services to supplement their income.  The companies perform background checks on the drivers, inspect their vehicles, and give them a meter.  Drivers work their own hours and use their own vehicles to transport customers. Read More »

New Cell Phone Law Takes Effect in New Jersey

July 2, 2014 · Posted in Blog, Cell Phone Ticket Blog, Traffic Law Blog 

Effective July 1, 2014, revisions to New Jersey’s cell phone law, N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3, will result in enhanced penalties for cell phone tickets.  These enhanced penalties include increased fines, the imposition of motor vehicle points, and possible driving privilege suspensions.

The increased penalties are the result of information demonstrating that driver distractions were a major factor in 1.4 million motor vehicle accidents in New Jersey from 2004 through 2013.  Driver distraction represented about half of all crashes that occurred during that time period. Read More »

Make Sure You Remove Snow and Ice from Your Entire Vehicle

February 12, 2014 · Posted in Blog, Traffic Law Blog 

…Not Just Your Windshield

Many people are unaware of this, but the law in New Jersey requires you to remove the snow and ice from your entire car – not just the windshield – before operating a motor vehicle.  N.J.S.A. 39:4-77.1 requires motorists to remove snow and ice from the entire vehicle before traveling.  Since this law took effect in October of 2010, over 3,000 tickets have been issued for this violation.

Most drivers assume that as long as their windows are clear, they are safe.  As snow or ice dislodges from a vehicle, however, it has the potential to strike another vehicle or a pedestrian and can cause significant injury and/or property damage.  Indeed, snow and ice accumulations create dangerous conditions for those who are struck by ice or snow or for those who try to divert these dangers. Read More »

What are the Defenses to a Charge of Improper Use of a Cell Phone While Driving in New Jersey?

December 29, 2013 · Posted in Blog, Cell Phone Ticket Blog 

If you received a ticket for improper use of a cell phone while driving in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.3, you should know that there are several defenses available to that charge. Pursuant to the cell phone statute, the use of a cell phone by an operator of a motor vehicle shall be unlawful “except where the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free.” The statute defines “use” to “include, but not be limited to, talking or listening to another person, text messaging, or sending an electronic message . . .” Perhaps most importantly, the statute expressly permits “the use of either hand to activate, deactivate, or initiate a function of the telephone.”
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I Received a Cell Phone Ticket in New Jersey. Should I Pay it or Fight it?

December 23, 2013 · Posted in Blog, Cell Phone Ticket Blog 

Clients often ask the attorneys at the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf whether or not cell phone violation is worth fighting.  The answers to this question is: it depends.  New Jersey’s cell phone law is provided for in the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Act 39:4-97.3 “Use of hands-free wireless telephone in moving vehicle.”  The offense is considered a non-moving violation and so does not currently carry any points. Whether or not you should fight such a ticket, however, depends on how it will affect your employment. Read More »

The Ignition Interlock Requirement for Out of State Drivers

July 19, 2013 · Posted in Blog, DWI / DUI Blog, Out-of-State Drivers Blog 

The ignition interlock requirement, which went into effect in January 2010, is a relatively recent development under New Jersey DWI law.  Under the new law, first-time DWI offenders whose blood alcohol content (“BAC”) is 0.15% or higher must install the interlock device in their vehicle.  Moreover, those individuals convicted of a subsequent DWI – regardless of their BAC – are required to install the interlock device.

Often times, our DWI clients are licensed in a state other than New Jersey.  One of the questions that arise in these cases is whether or not the individual is required to install the ignition interlock device on their vehicle.  In an article entitled “Ignition Interlock Device FAQs,” the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has stated the following on this topic:   Read More »

Conditional Licenses for New York Licensed Drivers Convicted of DUI in New Jersey

July 15, 2013 · Posted in Blog, DWI / DUI Blog, License / Insurance Blog 

Often times, the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf represents individuals who are convicted of driving under the influence (“DUI”) in New Jersey but who are licensed in another state.  While New Jersey will not permit conditional driving privileges under any circumstances, it may be possible for those individuals who are licensed in New York to receive a conditional license from the New York DMV.

Pursuant to New York State VTL §1196 (7), an individual that is convicted of DUI in another state may be issued a conditional license, provided they participate in what is known as the Drunk Driver Program (also known as DDP).  The DDP is a 16-hour educational and rehabilitative program.  To enroll in the DDP, an out-of-state DUI applicant must first wait until the New York DMV enters proof of the out-of-state DUI conviction in their system.  The NY DMV will then mail the individual an Order of Suspension or Revocation along with information regarding enrolling in the DDP.  Applicants are generally eligible to participate in the DDP as long as they have not been convicted of DUI in the last five years.  The program, however, is not available for those convicted of a refusal.   Read More »

Red Light Cameras Controversial in New Jersey

May 20, 2013 · Posted in Blog, Traffic Law Blog 

According to the New Jersey Department of Transportation (“DOT”), the state is putting a stop to the installation of any new red-light cameras.  The cameras are currently installed at 76 intersections in 25 communities.  The DOT explains that it takes two years worth of data collected at intersections where the cameras have been installed to reliably assess their effectiveness – more time than is left before the pilot project expires in December of 2014.

The data so far has been mixed. Accidents are actually up slightly at the 24 intersections around the state where cameras have been in place for a year, but down substantially at the two intersections where they were installed two years earlier. According to a report issued in November by the DOT, the total number of accidents at 24 intersections where the cameras had been in place for one year had increased by 0.9 percent (from 577 to 582) from the year before they were installed. The number of rear-end collisions at those intersections rose 20 percent – from 286 to 343 – while the total cost of damage resulting from all accidents rose by $1.2 million.  The report, however, also found that at the two intersections in Newark where cameras had been in place for two years, the total number of crashes fell by 57 percent, from 47 to 20, when comparing the second year of installation to the first. Total estimated costs of the crashes also fell, by $268,900. Read More »

How to Remove Points From Your New Jersey License

May 13, 2013 · Posted in Blog, License / Insurance Blog 

In New Jersey, having points on your license can lead to insurance surcharges (at six points) and the suspension of your driving privileges (at twelve points). You should know how many points you currently have on your license.  You can check this by requesting a copy of your driving record from the NJDMV.

If you have accumulated points, you can remove them from your license in different ways.  In New Jersey, drivers who want to remove points from the license or have to complete a sentence related to a traffic offense can take programs to lessen the amount of points on their license and save them insurance costs and the possibility of state surcharge fees.

Driver Improvement Program

This program is often offered to drivers instead of a 30-day driver’s license suspension in cases where they have accrued between 12-14 points on their license in a two-year time period.  The program costs $150.  When a driver completes the program, up to three points can be removed from their driver’s license.  It should be noted that you can only receive a two point reduction once every five years.

Defensive Driving Program

A driver can get two points reduced from their driving record and often reduce their insurance costs by completing a defensive driving course.  However, it should be noted that an individual can only complete the defensive driving course once every five years.

In addition to the above-mentioned programs, drivers who do not receive a violation for a period of one year from the most recent traffic violation will have three points removed.

If you have been issued a traffic ticket and are facing points on your license, contact the Law Office of Randolph H. Wolf today.  We have been representing individuals in traffic and traffic-related criminal matters in New Jersey for almost 30 years. We will work to challenge evidence and the circumstances surrounding your stop and ticket in order to get your traffic ticket reduced or dismissed.  Contact us today at (732) 741-4448 to schedule a free, initial consultation.

Proposed Changes to New Jersey Rule of Evidence 609

May 8, 2013 · Posted in Blog, NJ Supreme Court Blog, Traffic Law Blog 

A New Jersey Supreme Court committee has proposed changes to N.J.R.E. 609. The committee hopes to limit the use of past crimes evidence to impeach the defendant’s credibility at trial.   Specifically, the committee has proposed amending New Jersey Rule 609 to restrict the use of evidence of convictions that are more than 10 years old unless their probative value is judged to outweigh their prejudicial effect.

The committee recommended this change in the aftermath of the 2012 New Jersey Supreme Court decision in State v. Harris.  Derrick Harris was charged with robbery and burglary in 2007.  At his trial, a judge allowed the prosecution to introduce into evidence Harris’ 1997 drug conviction. The prosecutor used the drug charges along with previous disorderly persons convictions to disprove Harris’ credibility on the stand.  After the case, the Supreme Court selected a committee to weigh in on the current status of N.J.R.E. 609 and whether or not it needs to be amended.  Currently, N.J.R.E 609 allows any and all evidence of a witness’ criminal conviction to be presented in trial “unless excluded by the judge as remote or for other causes.”

The newly proposed language of the rule would mandate that any evidence of a conviction from more than 10 years prior could not be used in court.  The ten-year range would be determined from the date of the conviction or from the date of a release from prison, whichever was later.  The proposed revision allows for crimes older than ten years to be admitted only if those crimes are related to the present charges or have intervening circumstances that connect the two cases.  The committee’s plan also allows for the admission of older crimes that may prove a dishonest character, such as fraud, even if the conviction is more than ten years old.

The proposed law gives all defendants and witnesses an equal chance to be heard in court, especially those who may have had some youthful indiscretions in their past, or who have undergone prison time or rehabilitation in the years after their convictions.

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