There are very few things in life that are ‘written in stone’, and you having to make a turn while driving is typically not one of them. When the violation involves a risk of injury to another person, the police are less understanding than when you are the only person on the road… What you did and how you did it (the facts of what happened) can only work to offset your actions when you are at least somewhat remorseful (about committing the offense, not about being caught); and, the prosecutor and Judge are able to be lenient because you did not create a risk of injury to anyone else. Hopefully, while you were stopped by the officer, you did not tell the officer what you really thought of them, police in general or what you think of their reason for stopping you…
As a N.J. criminal defense lawyer, I am frequently told by my clients that they had been late for work or were ‘in a hurry’ that day, and they had no choice but to commit the violation (whether it was ‘running a red light’; speeding, or making the turn from the wrong lane). Rarely is the client’s reason for the violation something in the critical ‘life and death’ category. As one of my first employers would say to me when I made a mistake because I was rushing too fast, ‘The lack of planning on your part does not create an emergency on my part.’ While I can often resolve a traffic ticket for a client by bargaining for a lesser charge; a lower fine or fewer points; it is your your conduct coupled with the observations of the officer; and, your comments to the officer which will have the greatest impact on the prosecutor’s willingness to offer a plea you will want, as well as the Judge’s willingness to accept it. Think of this as being a defense strategy of ‘what you don’t tell them, they don’t know’; or, ‘if you did not tell the officer what you think of them, it will not impact what happens in Court’. Save your ‘funny’ comments for social media AFTER your lawyer gets you the best deal to save your license from suspension.
Sometimes, there are circumstances that your lawyer can use to explain your ‘misunderstanding’ of what you were supposed to do at the intersection…
…and when in doubt, don’t do what you WANT to do, do what the traffic signs or the officer are telling you to do. Otherwise, you will sit on the side of the road, and the number of tickets an officer can write are limited only by the officers knowledge of the MV code and the number of tickets they have with them. As for ‘sympathy’ from the officer for your plight, don’t count on it as the rule of thumb that will usually be applied by them is ‘people act at their own risk.’ Don’t make things worse by engaging in a roadside disagreement with the person able to write more tickets. Save it for Court.
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No attorney-client relationship is intended, offered or established by this information, even if it is similar in nature to a situation you are facing. Should you be confronted with a criminal prosecution or investigation, you are strongly advised to consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense lawyer licensed in the State or jurisdiction where the charges are filed, with whom you will have an attorney-client relationship, and can obtain legal advice on how to best handle your issues. This direct consultation should be done before you make any decisions in regards to your legal issue.