New Jersey Legal Definition is as follows
39:4-126. Failure to give proper signal, Signaling before starting, turning or stopping No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position upon the roadway as required in section 39:4-123, or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway, or start or back a vehicle unless and until such movement can be made with safety. No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided in the event any other traffic may be affected by such movement.
A signal of intention to turn right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.
No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear.
The signal herein required shall be given either by means of the hand and arm in the manner herein specified, or by an approved mechanical or electrical signal device, except that when a vehicle is so constructed or loaded as to prevent the hand and arm signal from being visible, both to front and rear, the signal shall be given by a device of a type which has been approved by the division.
When the signal is given by means of the hand and arm, the driver shall indicate his intention to stop or turn by extending the hand and arm from and beyond the left side of the vehicle in the following manner and such signals shall indicate as follows:
(a) Left turn.–Hand and arm extended horizontally.
(b) Right turn.–Hand and arm extended upward.
(c) Stop or decrease speed.–Hand and arm extended downward.
Amended by L.1951, c. 23, p. 92, s. 67; L.1956, c. 107, p. 485, s. 2.
Failure to give proper signal explained
The New Jersey statute dealing with failure to give proper signal is one of the trickier statutes that defense attorneys deal with. Police often give this ticket without understanding the most important part of the statute and that’s the last sentence of the first paragraph: “No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate signal in the matter herein after provided in the event any other traffic maybe affected by such movement.” The critical portion of this sentence is whether or not any other traffic would be affected by such movement. What this means for defense lawyers is that when a failure to give proper signal ticket is given, a determination must be made by the court as to whether or not failure to give a signal affected any other traffic on the road. Often failure to give proper signal tickets are given by police who are sitting and radaring on a road at night and no signal is used to turn, the police use that as a way to pull over a car and effectuate a search or look for a drunk driver when in fact no signal is required to be given by a driver who’s driving on an empty road where there are no other cars that would be affected by the turn of the driver’s vehicle.
This is particularly important in light of establishing probable cause for the initial stop which then leads to either a drug arrest or a DUI arrest. Failure to give proper signal is frequently seen when we represent clients in municipal court as the means by which an officer first comes into contact with the driver of a vehicle which then leads to more serious charges.
New Jersey Penalties and fines for failure to give proper signal
The fine for failure to give proper signal is $85 in New Jersey. In addition to the fine, the individual will receive two points on their driver’s license. These points register as “insurance eligibility points” which cause a person’s insurance rates to go up. An accumulation of these points can eventually force a person to buy more expensive insurance through New Jersey Personal Automobile Insurance Plan. Receiving over six points on a New Jersey driver’s license will result in a $150 penalty; after twelve points an individual will be faced with license suspension.
Learn about license restoration in New Jersey.