New Jersey Traffic Tickets

Table of contents

New Jersey Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties

Like those of most other states, traffic ticket fines in New Jersey depend on the specifics of each individual violation. This is much different from New York traffic tickets, for example. In New York, the fine depends on the category of the violation, your driving record, and many other factors. In New Jersey, the fine is almost always right there in the law.

For example, if you are convicted of driving or parking an unregistered motor vehicle (violation 39:3-4), you will be subjected to a fine equal to the flat rate of $54. The fine is spelled out right there in the law ("not exceeding $100") and the courts have decided the fine will be set at $54.

Of course, you might also have to pay additional fees if you fail to pay your ticket on time, falsify information regarding your driver's license or the ticket, or if either the severity of the violation or your driving record warrants what the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) refers to as "surcharges."

Certain traffic violations even carry the potential for jail time.

NOTE: Even if you decide to fight your ticket — provided that you lose — you might still be liable for late payment penalties depending on the date of your conviction.

Surcharges

The state of New Jersey demands the payment of surcharges when certain circumstances are met. These surcharges are annual fees assessed by the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System (NJSVS) to drivers who have severely or routinely violated the rules of the road.

The chart below lists the violations that can be penalized via surcharges and what those surcharges might look like:

CostDescription
$150Receiving six or more points in a span of three years
$25*Receiving one more point above six in a span of three years
$100 ($300 total)Driving without a license or with an expired license
$250 ($750 total)Driving with a suspended license
$100 ($300 total)Failure to insure a moped
$250 ($750 total)Operating an uninsured vehicle
$1,000 ($3,000 total)Being convicted of your first two DWIs
$1,500 ($4,500 total)Being convicted of a third DWI (if it occurs within three years of your last offense
$1,000 ($3,000 total)Refusing to take a test to measure blood alcohol content

*This surcharge is multiplied by the number of points you receive above six. For example, receiving nine points on your license within a three-year period will result in a $150 surcharge for being above six and another $150 ($50 times three) for receiving three additional points.

Since certain penalties can immediately put you at or above six points, New Jersey's six-point threshold can result in you being surcharged for three years based on a single ticket conviction.

New Jersey Probationary Driver Program — PDP

This is one of two remedial driving programs that the New Jersey MVC offers.

For two years after you receive your first-ever driver license, you will be considered a probationary driver. Being convicted of two or more moving violations with a total of at least four points can result in you being required to take a four-hour classroom course called the Probationary Driver Program. Characteristics of the course are as follow:

  • This is a four-hour classroom course
  • There is a mandatory $75 administration fee
  • Up to three points can be removed from your driving record upon completion of the course

New Jersey's Traffic Ticket Point System

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission assigns points based on the severity of the traffic violation. These points can cause significant increases to your insurance premiums for years at a time, though the NJ MVC does offer a Defensive Driving School program to reduce the number of active points on your record.

New Jersey traffic tickets can dish out up to eight points at once. That can wreak havoc on your finances. The Full New Jersey Points Schedule can be found here.

Defensive Driving Courses

Once every five years, you will be eligible to enroll in a defensive driving course to potentially remove active points from your driving record. These voluntary courses are offered by private organizations in partnership with the New Jersey MVC in order to increase safety on the roads.

Taking a Defensive Driving course in New Jersey opens the door to the following benefits:

  • Remove up to three active points from your driving record
  • Potentially qualify for an insurance discount (speak with your provider to make sure)

Of course, there are also a few noteworthy drawbacks to taking one of these courses:

  • You must spend four to eight hours in the course
  • You must pass a final exam
  • You might also have to pay a small administration fee (typically between $15 and $50)

Ticket Violations that Don't Give Points

New Jersey has quite a few traffic laws on the books covering violations that are not punished as severely as those mentioned above. The violations listed below — although they are still tickets and can still carry burdensome fines and penalties — are a couple examples of violations that do not add points to your license:

  • Failure to observe a red light camera
  • Unsafe driving

This list refers exclusively to government-mandated points. Although the state of New Jersey will not issue points for these violations, insurance companies can have their own point systems and may issue points as they see fit.

Driver License Suspensions and Revocations

Suspensions and revocations function in a similar fashion in the state of New Jersey as they do elsewhere: If you are convicted of a serious traffic violation or a series of traffic violations in a short period of time, you might have your driver's license suspended — whether by the court or by the MVC — or even revoked.

New Jersey has two primary kinds of license suspensions — administrative and criminal/quasi-criminal — both of which can be either indefinite or definite.

Administrative License Suspensions

These suspensions are typically handed down by the New Jersey MVC as a result of an MVC proceeding. A few examples of violations that can lead to an administrative suspension are as follow:

  • Abandonment of a motor vehicle
  • Accumulating three or more suspensions
  • Accumulating 12 or more points in a three-year period
  • Being found at fault in a vehicular fatality
  • Failing to comply with the Intoxicated Driver Resource Center
  • Failing to pay surcharges
  • Falsifying information on a motor vehicle application
  • Operating a vehicle with a suspended license
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Violating a license probation or warning period following a previous suspension

Criminal License Suspensions

These suspensions are typically handed down by the court during a criminal proceeding and are often attached to violations carrying potential jail time. A few examples of violations that can result in criminal suspensions are as follow:

  • Being convicted of a drug-related offense
  • Being convicted of underage drinking or possession of alcohol
  • Being involved in a "hit and run" accident
  • Careless driving resulting in an accident
  • Driving on a suspended license
  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
  • Driving without insurance
  • Failing to appear in court
  • Failing to comply with a court order
  • Failing to pay child support
  • Failing to pay court-imposed fines
  • Excessive speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Using of a cellphone while driving

License Revocations

A license revocation differs from a license suspension in one simple way: when your driver license is revoked, you must go through the process of obtaining an entirely new one. As with suspensions, these can be both definite or indefinite.

Examples of violations that can lead to license revocations include many of the above violations, depending on the particular circumstances of the violation.

Driver Improvement Program — DIP

This is the second of the two remedial driving programs that New Jersey offers. This is a classroom course that is offered instead of a 30-day suspension to drivers who have received 12 to 14 points in more than two years. A few characteristics of these programs are listed below:

  • Require a $75 administration fee
  • Up to three active points can be removed from your driving record

Moving and Non-Moving Traffic Violations

Moving and non-moving traffic violations are exactly what the names imply. Moving violations are traffic violations occurring while the vehicle is in motion. Non-moving violations are traffic violations occurring while the vehicle is not in motion.

Here are a few examples of common moving violations:

  • Driving while intoxicated.
  • Failing to stop at a red light or stop sign.
  • Speeding.
  • Using a cellphone while driving.

Non-moving violations are usually — but not always — related to parking or faulty equipment, such as the abandonment of a vehicle.

How to Respond to Your Ticket

Responding to your ticket in a timely manner can make the difference between getting off scot free and racking up additional points and fees. As mentioned above, failure to respond to your ticket before the deadline can result in late fees as well as the potential suspension of your driver license.

Traffic Ticket Plea Options

Although the specifics of each ticket can vary from one county to another, the plea options will generally remain the same: guilty, not-guilty, or — typically only in non-criminal cases — no contest.

A plea of guilty immediately renders a conviction complete with the points, fines, fees, and other penalties that come along with the violation for which you have been convicted.

A plea of not-guilty starts the dispute process and enables you to fight the ticket in court. Once you've plead guilty, you can request your contested hearing and get the ball rolling in the process of fighting your ticket.

Plea Bargaining and No Contest Pleas in New Jersey

If you're a New York driver who's received a traffic ticket in New Jersey, you're in luck. Whereas states like New York do not allow any form of plea bargaining in traffic court, New Jersey's municipal courts are often quite receptive to plea bargains.

Plea bargaining is the process of trying to reach what is called a "plea deal," an admission of guilt to a lesser violation in order to reduce the penalties for you and reduce the time and financial burdens for the court. This is done in the municipal court with jurisdiction over the location where you were accused of having committed the violation.

For out-of-state ticket-recipients, that means you're going to have to do some traveling.

No-contest pleas, on the other hand, are not offered in New Jersey. These pleas — common elsewhere in the country — involve accepting the charges against you without admitting guilt. In New Jersey, however, you must explicitly either admit guilt by pleading guilty or declare lack of guilt by pleading not-guilty.

Paying Your Ticket

You can pay a New Jersey traffic ticket online, by mail, or at the municipal court with jurisdiction over the location where you received your ticket (this should be listed on the ticket near the fines).

Paying your ticket in any way is considered an "admission of guilt," which carries the following consequences:

  • You can never thereafter fight or otherwise contest the paid ticket, its fees, or any of its penalties
  • You will take the full brunt of the penalties, including potential license suspensions and jail time

Fighting Your Ticket

Everybody's been there before. You're driving, following all the rules of the road, and a car comes speeding past you. The police officer manning the speed trap down the road clocks the speeder with his radar but mistakes your car for theirs, giving you the ticket instead.

Whether you're in this situation or any of the countless others that New Jersey drivers face every day, you're going to want to fight your ticket.

The first option is to enter a plea of not-guilty of the ticket, mail it to the court, and eventually take time off work to argue against seasoned prosecutors with years — or even decades — of experience.

These mail-in disputes, however, tend to offer an extremely low success rate.

The second option is to go straight to arguing with those seasoned prosecutors in the hopes of obtaining a high-quality plea deal without any expert assistance.

One thing that any lawyer will tell you is that there is value in the human element. When prosecutors, judges, and juries can see a person in front of them actively explaining your case, your odds increase significantly.

Hire a Traffic Ticket Lawyer through the WinIt App

Fighting the good fight involves spending time, energy, and expertise that most people simply don't have; but in order to reduce your points, prevent your insurance premiums from rising, and avoid having to pay costly fines and fees, you're going to need to do just that.

The WinIt App puts all of those resources at the tip of your finger, making it possible to hire an expert traffic attorney in New Jersey — or elsewhere — with the press of a button.

These attorneys handle all of the paperwork, go toe-to-toe with the prosecutors in the municipal court, and do all of the heavy lifting so that you don't have to.

The longer you wait, the closer you get to the late payment deadline and potential suspension of your license, so fight your ticket with the WinIt App today and sleep better tomorrow.

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