Q: Re nj 39:4-81 1. What a good defense can be for this offense? 2. What is the minimum and maximum fine?
The best defense to any ticket is to hire a good lawyer.
The second best is to prove someone else was driving your car.
In general the maximum fine is $200.00 plus court costs and 2 points. That being said: Under NJSA: 39:5-31: A judge may suspend the driving privileges of any person he/she deems to be guilty of a “willful violation” of the law so be careful on what you do and say at trial.
You will need to show either you were not the driver or you did not fail to obey the signal. Often times, the officer claims you ran a red light and you claim the traffic light was yellow. Depending on the township, you may be able to get "meaningful" discovery (police video, intersection video etc), but most likely the (municipal) prosecutor will not produce much and s/he will set the matter for trial without a substantial discussion of your case. If you finally go to trial, (assuming the officer shows up), the officer will testify you were the driver and ran the red light and you testify that you were not and you didn't. The trial will last for less than 30 minutes, and the municipal judge will probably find you guilty.
If and when you retain a lawyer, you may want to inform him/her that you are NY driver (NY license holder) with no CDL, (if CDL) you were driving a personal vehicle, and you will never accept a plea offer of NJSA 4-97.2 (called "unsafe operation" which is a catch-all no-point violation for many moving violations and will unreasonably offend your wallet.)
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