Surcharges Now Imposed for 39:4-97.2 Violations

As part of the governor’s budget package, New Jersey motorists will be exposed to new and increased surcharges. These include the following:

1. Violations of N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2 will now include a $250 surcharge. The surcharge will be imposed on a one-time basis in municipal court and will be collected by the court. The surcharge will be imposed and collected in addition to any fine imposed. First and second offenses remain non-point violations.

2. For motorists who are assessed 6 or more penalty points within a three-year period, there will be an increased surcharge. Such motorists will now be required to pay $150 for the first 6 points and $25 for each point beyond 6. The old surcharge was $100.

It is important for practitioners to remember that it is the assessment of points during a 3 year period, not the accumulation of points, that triggers the surcharge. Thus, various annual point credits will not affect the imposition of this surcharge.

As a result of the foregoing, a first offender charged with 39:4-97.2 may face a total cost in municipal court of $436. (150 fine + 6 assessments + 30 costs + 240 surcharge). Also, remember, the fine amount can be doubled in construction zones and safe corridors areas.

Portions of the governor’s press release are included below.

Press Release from governor

UNSAFE DRIVING: Assembly Bill 3114 Imposes surcharge for “unsafe driving” convictions Currently, unsafe driving is punishable by a fine. No motor vehicle violation points are assessed for first or second offenders; third offenders are assessed two points. Under the bill, a person who is convicted of an “unsafe driving” offense would be subject to a one time $250 surcharge, to be imposed by the court. The court shall also collect the surcharge. Pursuant to A3109/S1780, the courts shall remit surcharge amounts collected to the Division of Revenue, which will deposit the funds into a dedicated Motor Vehicle surcharge fund. The fund should be used as security for bonds to be issued pursuant to the FY’05 budget.

MOTOR VEHICLES SECURITIZATION: Assembly Bill 3109“Motor Vehicle Surcharges Securitization Act of 2004” would authorize the securitization of certain future proceeds generated from surcharges on specific motor vehicle offenses. This bill would increase the existing motor vehicle surcharge imposed upon drivers who have accumulated six or more motor vehicle penalty points in the preceding 36-month period from $100 to $150. Each additional point would be the subject of a $25 surcharge, as is the case under current law. The bill would authorize the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“EDA”) to issue bonds, notes, and other obligations payable primarily from collections on or after July 1, 2006 of the new surcharge for unsafe driving, created pursuant to separate legislation amending current law to establish a new surcharge of $250.00 for each conviction for unsafe driving.

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