Former Traffic Court Judge Serving New York and New Jersey

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Former Traffic Court Judge

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Violations add up: Get defensive

One of the most frustrating things to deal with on the roads is a driver who is making unsafe lane changes. You're trying to go from point A to B without getting into an accident, but someone who cuts you off, merges suddenly and doesn't signal makes it difficult to avoid a crash.

Unsafe lane changes can result in a traffic violation if the police see you do it. There are a few other unsafe actions that could result in penalties, too. For example, making an illegal U-turn, which could constitute an unsafe lane change, too, can lead to a ticket.

Along with unsafe lane changes, many people face additional penalties for secondary violations such as reckless driving, running a red light or stop sign, speeding and seat belt violations. Once you're stopped by police, the violations may start to add up, which is why a good defense is very important.

What should you do if you're accused of a traffic violation?

If this is a first offense, don't panic. The likelihood is that you'll be assessed a fine, but you have an opportunity to go to court to argue against it or to pay that fine and accept the penalties. Penalties add up, though, so it may be a good choice to talk to your attorney about ways to defend yourself. For example, if the officer didn't record evidence of your reckless behaviors or didn't clock you speeding, certain violations may be dropped, and you may not be penalized. Everyone's case is different, but it's always a good idea to look into protecting your rights.

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