New Jersey Ticket Fines and Penalties
Getting a traffic ticket is not only a burden on your driving record - it can also end up cost you a lot of money in the short and long term. Each traffic violation in the state carries with it a designated amount of points and a fine that you will have to pay. In addition to these fines, there are sometimes extra surcharges that you will be assessed, depending upon the frequency or severity of your violation. Here are the most common New Jersey traffic ticket fines and penalties that you should watch out for while on the roads.
The New Jersey Point System
In order to accurately assess your driving abilities, the MVC has put in place a point system for its traffic violations. Each New Jersey traffic violation carries a designated amount of points, and the total amount of points on your driving record tells the MVC how safe (or unsafe) you are on the road. Similarly, each of these violations has a designated fine that you will be required to pay, or else you risk even more violations and possible jail time for failure to comply.
For instance, if you are convicted of "unsafe driving," which is defined as any driving behaviors that endanger a person or property, you will be required to pay a fine of $50-$150 on your first conviction, $100-$250 on your second, and $200-500 if you are convicted a third time. You will also be required to pay an additional $250 surcharge for each conviction.
Most New Jersey traffic ticket fines are determined by the county or court in which you were convicted. So someone speeding in Trenton may end up paying a different fine than someone speeding in Newark.
What are Surcharges?
In addition to the original fine that you may be charged for your traffic ticket, you could be charged extra fees if your traffic violation is severe, or if you accumulate too many of them within a certain period of time. Some of these surcharges are one-time fees, while others require annual payments for a set number of years.
For instance, if you accrue 6 or more points on your driving record within 3 years, you face an annual surcharge of $150, plus a fee of $25 for each additional point you have over 6. This points surcharge needs to be paid for a total of 3 years... which means you're looking at an additional cost of $450 on top of your original ticket costs, plus any extra money paid out for additional points above 6 (if you have any). On the other hand, the first example of "unsafe driving" carries a single surcharge of $250 to be paid just once.
More Severe Penalties
For serious violations, such as aggressive driving or breaking New Jersey DUI laws, the fines and penalties are clearly defined. Here's what you can expect if you really find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
- Reckless driving
- Fine: $50 - 200
- Jail time: up to 60 days
- Carrying alcoholic beverages
- Fine: First offense - $200; second offense - $250 or 10 days of community service
- Fine: $2500-$5000
- Jail time: 180 days
- Loss of license for 1 year
- Subsequent offenses = permanent loss of license
- Driving on a suspended license
- Fines: first offense - $500; second offense - $750; third offense - $1000
- Additional 6 months of license suspension
New Jersey License Suspension
If you do not amend your ways, you will risk the suspension of your driving privileges. The accrual of 12 total points on your driving record results in an automatic license suspension, and you will need to go through the restoration process to get it back. In addition, you will likely have to complete a defensive driving or traffic school course in order to complete requirements for your court.
You can avoid this, however, by driving safely for one year, or by completing a New Jersey Point and Insurance Reduction course. Either of these methods will remove 2 points from your driving record, keeping you away from the suspension threshold. Be mindful, however, that you may only complete a Point and Insurance Reduction course once every 5 years.