On Wednesday, April 25, 2001, Judge Charles J. Kollar, of North Brunswick Municipal Court, was confronted with a variety of motor vehicle related cases. From reckless driving to driving without a registration and everything in between, some of the cases I listened to are summarized below.
In the first case, a woman had stomach pains and her husband was driving her to the drug store. On the way, they were stuck behind a driver going too slowly and followed the driver too closely. They originally pleaded guilty, but this was later retracted and replaced with a guilty plea. They driver's following too closely were charged $100 plus $30 court costs. I think the fine is rather high for a silly offense and the driver going slow and causing this should have also been ticketed.
The second case I viewed had multiple fines. The driver pleaded guilty and received a $50 fine for unsafe driving, a $300 fine for driving without insurance, a $30 fine for driving without a license and $60 in court costs.
The driver was never convicted of a driving offense before so Judge Kollar admitted to being more lenient with him then he would have been with another driver. In addition to the fines, Kollar suspended the driver's license for one year. I think the fines were fair and the driver got what he deserved, but I think that the license suspension was a lot for a first time offense, however not knowing the circumstances of the unsafe driving, it may not have been a moderate judgment.
The third case involved a woman who did not wear her seatbelt and had a licensing charge against her. She pleaded guilty to both, and was charged $80 plus $60 court costs. I think it's a fair verdict. Over half of the penalty fines were because of her failure to wear a seatbelt, which put her life in danger, and it's likely that she won't forget to wear it again after this.
Another case I viewed involved a man driving under a revoked license. For this, he was charged $500 and $30 court costs. It was the driver's first offense and he pleaded guilty, so Kollar again agreed to be more lenient. He suspended the driver's license for 10 days and said that if he were stopped again, he would be in jail for 10 days. I think this was a fair judgment because driving under a suspended license is just ignorant and I think that ignorance deserves to be punished. Justice was served.
The last case I viewed had a double charge. The first was speeding, which was lowered to unsafe driving, at a $150 fine and $30 court costs. The woman also was unable to present her insurance card, which became a $30 fine and $30 court costs. By putting others at risk by speeding, I think the woman deserved to be fined as much as she was. Also, not being able to produce insurance merits punishment.
Many of the other cases I saw involved the same elements as the ones above, most specifically operating without a license, unsafe driving and lack of registration/insurance cards. I think that most of the punishments were fair, as the driver's knew the consequences of what they were doing before they did it. If nothing else, at least they learned from their mistakes and hopefully won't be in court again.