I recently posted an article regarding New Jersey Motor Vehicle traffic offenses, points and surcharges. This is a follow up to that discussion and clarification. There are two particular categories to be addressed and the distinction is important. The two categories are NJ motor vehicle surcharges and NJ Insurance eligibility points. Frequently the two are confused. I will address each in turn. Remember, a NJ traffic defense lawyer and municipal court attorney will work with you to formulate solid defenses. The law is intricate and confusing, but experienced lawyers can navigate the gauntlet. Remember, the best way to avoid the myriad of penalties outlined below is to hire experienced counsel.
Motor vehicle surcharges are a civil penalty and imposed under the authority granted to the Chief Administrator of the the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). These surcharges are imposed when a licensee compiles too many motor vehicle points or is convicted of certain Title 39 motor vehicle offenses. Once surcharges have been levied against you, you must make timely payments or be subject to possible indefinite license suspension or judgment and judgment for the surcharge amount. Surcharges are predictable, meaning the amount assessed is fixed for just about all eligible Nj traffic violations and point accumulations. The best Nj traffic ticket lawyers will uderstand how to best structure a case to avoid as many surcharges as possible.
Surcharges are imposed for the following offenses:
- Under the authority of N.J.S.A. 17:29A-35(b)(1)(a) the MVC may impose a surcharge on any driver who is assessed six or more points in the prior three years period. This is how it works. Assume that in year one you are issued a ticket for speeding and assessed four (4) points. 12 months passes and you receive no tickets or are not convicted of any NJ moving violations. You will be granted a 3 point credit and have a total of 1 point. Yet if you are assesses 2 points for any other violation in either of the next two years, you will incur surcharges because you will have accumulated 6 points over a three year period for MVC surcharge purposes. The point assessment surcharge starts at $100 and $25 will be assesses for every point in excess of six. The surcharges remain for each year the motorist has six or more points on his/her license.
- Under the authority of N.J.S.A. 17:29A-35(b)(3) the MVC may assess surcharges for Title 39 offenses that don’t necessarily require the imposition of points. The surcharges for these offenses are imposed on a yearly basis for years. These offenses are as follows
1) N.J.S.A. 39:3-10 Unlicensed Driver Surcharge $100 for 3 yrs
2) N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 Driving on the Revoked List Surcharge $250 for 3 yrs plus an additional $250 per year for 3 yrs for an administrative violation of the law
3) N.J.S.A. 39:6B-2 No Insurance on Motor Vehicle Same as above
- Under authority of N.J.S.A. 17:29A-35(b)(2) the MVC will assess surcharges for any conviction for drunk driving or refusal to take a breath test under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 and 4-50.4. The surcharge is $3000, to be paid in $1000 payments for three consecutive years.
The additional administrative penalties will result not from court convictions, but when the MVC has evidence to show that you were operating during a period of suspension. For example, if your license was suspended and you were issued a ticket for speeding, but for what ever reason the officer did not issue you a ticket for driving on the revoked list, the MVC would still impose the surcharge based upon the speeding conviction. An additional administrative suspension of your licensed is likely even though the court took no such action.
If you are caught driving on the revoked list, and your license was suspended for non-payment of motor vehicle surcharges, you will be subject to enhanced penalties in addition to those normally assessed for a violation of 39:3-40. The judge is required to impose a $3000 fine on the defendant. To make matters worse, this fine is recorded as a judgment with the superior court payable to the MVC.
It is important to remember that surcharges can be imposed on out of state drivers as well. Moreover, if a New Jersey Driver is convicted of DWI or refusal on another state, NJ can impose Motor vehicle surcharges in this state.
Insurance eligibility points are not assessed by the MVC, but rather by insurance companies doing business in New Jersey. The insurance points assessed are typically the same as those imposed in connection with traffic offenses. However, some non-point traffic offense do result in insurance eligibility points. DWI, for example, is one of these. The accumulation of 7 or more points will disqualify the individual from purchasing insurance in the voluntary market. Nonetheless, there are high risk pools that will accept the individual at a dramatically increased premium.
What ever the case may be, the financial consequences are daunting. If you are facing a NJ motor vehicle traffic charge that may result in either motor vehicle surcharges or the imposition of insurance eligibility points, you should contact a New Jersey traffic lawyer for a free consultation. The impact of such an offense is on going. The consequences are unforeseen and can mean thousands of dollars out of your pocket, jail, or a judgment on your credit.New Jersey traffic ticket lawyer, Newark, South Orange, Irvington, Cedar Grove, Livingston, Millburn, Maplewood, Summit, Jersey City, Roseland, Essex Fells, Caldwell, West Orange, Bloomfield, Montclair, Orange, Verona, Weehawken, Hoboken, Cranford, Union City, Etc.