Judges May Now Suspend Registration Privileges for Parking Tickets

Under legislation signed into law by the governor on January 13, 2008, New Jersey’s municipal court judges now have the option of suspending either the driver’s license or registration privileges of a person who fails to appear in response to a parking ticket or who fails to pay parking ticket fines. The new option of registration suspension is intended to provide judges and the Motor Vehicle Commission with enhanced options in order to compel compliance with the local, county and state parking law enforcement. Note that the amended statute permits suspension of either the license or registration, but not both. The amended statute under the Parking Offenses Adjudication Act is as follows:

Registration Suspension

1. Section 9 of P.L.1985, c.14 (C.39:4-139.10) is amended to read as follows:

9. a. If a person has failed to respond to a failure to appear notice or has failed to pay a parking judgment, the municipal court may give notice of that fact to the commission in a manner prescribed by the chief administrator. If notice has been given under this section of a person’s failure to respond to a failure to appear notice or to pay a parking judgment and if the fines and penalties are paid or if the case is dismissed or otherwise disposed of, the municipal court shall promptly give notice to that effect to the commission.

b. The judge or the commission may suspend the driver’s license, or the registration of the motor vehicle of an owner, lessee, or operator who has not answered or appeared in response to a failure to appear notice or has not paid or otherwise satisfied outstanding parking fines or penalties. If an owner, lessee or operator has been found guilty of a parking offense, the court shall provide notice and an opportunity to appear before a judge prior to suspending that person’s driver’s license or motor vehicle registration. If the owner, lessee or operator is found by the court to be indigent or is participating in a government-based income maintenance program, that person shall be permitted to pay the parking fine and other penalties in installments in accordance with section 1 of P.L.1981, c.365 (C.39:4-203.1).

c. The commission shall keep a record of a suspension ordered by the court pursuant to subsection b. of this section.

(cf: P.L.1999, c.397, s.1)

2. Section 10 of P.L.1985, c.14 (C.39:4-139.11) is amended to read as follows:

10. a. When a person whose license or motor vehicle registration has been suspended pursuant to subsection b. of section 9 of P.L.1985, c.14 (C.39:4-139.2 et seq.) satisfies the fines and any penalties imposed by the court, the court shall forward to the commission a notice to restore the person’s driver’s license or registration.

b. Upon receiving a notice to restore pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the commission shall record the restoration and notify the person of the restoration.

(cf: P.L. 1985, c. 14, s. 10)

3. This act shall take effect immediately.

Statement

The Senate Transportation Committee reports favorably Senate Bill No. 2326 with committee amendments.

This amended bill would provide a judge and the Motor Vehicle Commission with greater flexibility when dealing with a person who has failed to respond to a failure to appear notice or who has not satisfied outstanding parking fines or penalties. Under current law, a judge or the commission may suspend the person’s driver’s license. Under the provisions of this bill, a judge or the commission would be permitted to suspend either the person’s motor vehicle registration or driver’s license. In determining whether to suspend the person’s driver’s license or the motor vehicle registration, the judge and the commission shall take into consideration the area where the person resides and whether or not the person has access to off-street parking.

This bill was prompted by a recommendation from the Motor Vehicles Affordability and Fairness Task Force.

The committee amended the bill by requiring the judge and the commission to take into consideration the area the person resides in and whether or not the person has access to off-street parking in deciding between suspension of the driver’s license or the motor vehicle registration. The committee also made a technical amendment.

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