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  1. #1
    notjaredlouche is offline Junior Member
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    Unhappy Failure to exhibit documents in NJ - with a twist

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? New Jersey

    Earlier today I was pulled over at my local community college for speeding. When the officer asked for my documents, I produced my license and registration, but could not find my current insurance card (I had about 3 older ones, one of which was valid until the date this happened, actually). The officer asked me if I was definitely insured and I said "yes". I was not aware of the statute and assumed they could just look it up on the computer. A few minutes passed, I received a warning for the speeding, but received a ticket for "Failure to exhibit documents" (NJSA 39:3:29b).
    At this time I presented the older insurance card which expired on that very day, and the officer said something to the effect of "eh, you should have shown me that earlier, but hey, I already wrote the ticket". The officer then instructed me to call the municipal court to plead "not guilty" and then talk to the prosecutor when I arrive, show him my current insurance card and he should dismiss/reduce the charges.

    My question is: Am I really "not guilty" if I was not able to produce my card at the correct time, but did posess valid insurance? I feel leery about pleading not guilty when it seems like I'm considered at fault. After reading the statute it seems I am definitely at fault but it is likely that charges will be reduced or dropped.
  2. #2
    The Occultist is offline Senior Member
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    Technically, yes, you are guilty of not being able to provide the documents the officer requested. However, if you show that everything was in order at the time of the stop, then you MIGHT see some leniency from the court.
  3. #3
    notjaredlouche is offline Junior Member
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    My court date is tomorrow. This is my first ticket and court appearance, so I'm a little nervous, but apparently I have a coworker going there the same day so at least I have a buddy.

    I plan to plead guilty and explain the above circumstances to the judge. I'm bringing my license, registration, and both insurance cards (the older one I showed the cop and the current one). From what I've been reading it's highly likely the fine will be dropped and I'll only have to pay court fees, but I understand there are no guarantees.

    I'll update everyone tomorrow after court, I'll be going in at 5PM EST. I know how frustrating it is when people post their legal issues on here and then never give a conclusion
    Last edited by notjaredlouche; 10-13-2008 at 11:01 PM.
  4. #4
    hanknows is offline Junior Member
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    (Speaking aside of the speeding citation)

    Technically you are guilty of the documents charge even though you had the (still 1 day) valid document on you because you failed to provide the requested documents between the time you were pulled over and when the LEO decided to cite you. Since you were legitimately insured (and convinced this to the LEO later during the stop) it shouldn't be a big deal in court. (you should still be expected to prove this to the judge so have the proof on you)

    If you choose not to fight the other ticket but make the appearance there's a good chance of dismissal on the documents charge. Should you have an opportunity to have the LEO testify that you later produced the document, it should be definitely dismissed though I don't think you will have a hard time convincing the prosecutor, based on your story.

    Don't be nervous. This is extremely common for NJ stops/courts due to the nature of the tangible NJ proof of insurance policies and their renewal notices mail delivered without being proactive forcing motorists to keep more than 1 proof in their vehicles. You may see other defendants in similar circumstances.
  5. #5
    notjaredlouche is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hanknows View Post
    You may see other defendants in similar circumstances.
    I sure did, out of the 15 cases that went before me, about 7 were for failure to show insurance card! (The rest were all for driving while suspended, for some reason)

    The whole process was pretty painless. My name was called, I went before the judge. He read me my rights, asked if I was going to represent myself or hire an attorney. He then asked to see the current insurance card. I gave it to the bailiff, the judge read it, and then asked if I objected to a fine of $0 and $33 in court fees. I said "no" and happily walked out of the courtroom. After which the bailiff came running out with my insurance card because the judge forgot to give it back

    I was surprised it went so easily. I didn't even have to explain the situation with having the old insurance card. Court started at 5 and I was out by 5:30.
  6. #6
    BL
    BL is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by notjaredlouche View Post
    I sure did, out of the 15 cases that went before me, about 7 were for failure to show insurance card! (The rest were all for driving while suspended, for some reason)

    The whole process was pretty painless. My name was called, I went before the judge. He read me my rights, asked if I was going to represent myself or hire an attorney. He then asked to see the current insurance card. I gave it to the bailiff, the judge read it, and then asked if I objected to a fine of $0 and $33 in court fees. I said "no" and happily walked out of the courtroom. After which the bailiff came running out with my insurance card because the judge forgot to give it back

    I was surprised it went so easily. I didn't even have to explain the situation with having the old insurance card. Court started at 5 and I was out by 5:30.
    See : Most Judges are ordinary people , hey ?

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