What if My Traffic Ticket has a Misprint?

Submitted by New Jersey DWI Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark

A court can throw out a traffic ticket if it contains an error that “detract[s] from the intended purpose” of the offense or “prejudice[s] the rights of the defendant.”[1]

A recent case was decided by New Jersey’s Appellate Division.  In that case, a driver lost control of his car and was injured as a result.  The first officer on the scene of the accident issued, among other tickets, one which read “refusal to submit to blood” and cited a statute that referred to a failure to submit to a Breathalyzer. Although the statute of refusing to submit to a Breathalyzer includes language regarding blood alcohol levels, and if someone refuses to submit to a Breathalyzer then blood tests can be administered, the Court in this case threw out the ticket because it was unclear as to what the defendant was being charged. The Court further noted that a defendant must be given ample and fair notice of the nature of the charges against him.

Not all misprints or mistakes on tickets lead to them being thrown out.  For instance, a police officer’s failure to sign a DWI ticket did not deprive the summons of its effectiveness.[2]

If you have received a ticket or summons which you think is unclear or unfairly states the charges against you, contact an attorney immediately.

[1] State v. Latorre, 228 N.J. Super. 314, 320 (App. Div. 1988).

[2] State v. Fisher, 180 N.J. 462, 471 (2004).

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