No matter how long someone has been driving, getting a traffic ticket is always a possibility, even for just minor offenses, but learning how to handle one, especially in New Jersey, takes a moment or two to wrap your head around. From learning how to pay—by mail, phone, in person, or online—to how to fight a ticket if necessary, New Jersey drivers would benefit greatly from having a solid understanding of how traffic tickets work. With that in mind, here is a quick overview of what to do when you get a traffic ticket in the Garden State.
Fines and Penalties
When a New Jersey driver receives a ticket, they can expect a hefty fine, points added onto their driving record (12 points results in a license suspension), and court costs—the traffic ticket itself should display the total amount of the fine. Something that is also worth noting is if drivers receive six points on their license within three years or commit certain offenses, they will be charged an annual surcharge for three years.
Paying Traffic Tickets
Depending on the jurisdiction where the traffic infraction takes place, drivers may have to pay their ticket through specific means, which should be listed on the ticket itself, but drivers may contact the proper court if there is any confusion. An option for paying online should be available along with a small convenience fee as well as in person or by mail—the ticket should also say whether an appearance in court is mandatory. For surcharges, they can be paid by mail, by phone, or online, and remember to pay ticket fines before their due date, so as to avoid additional penalties.
Defensive driving courses or similar traffic school courses are also available as an option for taking points off a driver’s record and avoiding a license suspension due to point accumulation. However, traffic school is not an option for having traffic tickets dismissed.
Fighting Traffic Tickets
If a driver wants to fight their ticket in traffic court, they have to, first of all, plead not guilty and have legal evidence to contest the ticket as well as the means to present it, making a lawyer almost always necessary. Drivers can also try appealing to the prosecutor for a plea agreement, but this requires pleading guilty in exchange for less severe penalties.
If You’ve Lost Your Ticket
For drivers who’ve lost their tickets, they should immediately contact the traffic court for the county in which the infraction took place. The court will likely require drivers to give their full name, license plate number, and New Jersey driver’s license number. The point of contacting the court is to acquire the information from the original ticket, so drivers should ask for the total fine amount, ticket prefix, court ID, complaint number, ticket number, and, if applicable, their hearing date.
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