There are times in life where nothing seems to go right. One problem after another lurks in the near future. Each one has something to do with just not having enough money to handle everything you need to cope with. You feel like “the goalie on the dart team.”
Then you get pulled over by the police while driving. Either there is a ticket for a moving violation, a driving without insurance charge or a drinking driving charge… Or all three.
You go to municipal court, end up being found guilty and get hit with fines, a possible suspension of your driver’s license and points for moving violations. You pay the fines, serve any suspension – while paying others to give you rides – and hope life will get better once you are through this tough time.
Perhaps, because your work requires that you drive, you lose the job. You are having trouble paying your bills on time and maybe cannot pay them at all. The debt collectors are your new best phone friends.
Then one day you open your mail to find the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Restoration Notice. You visit a Motor Vehicle Commission Office, pay the restoration fee and start driving again.
Just as life starts looking brighter more mail arrives from NJ MVC – this time with a New Jersey Automobile Insurance surcharge. What IS this?
These surcharges are imposed by the State of New Jersey, but the state does not keep the money. It is paid to auto insurance companies to make up for insurers’ expenses that are caused by “bad drivers.”
Here is what the official New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission site (http://www.state.nj.us/mvc/Violations/Surcharges.htm) tells us about these surcharges:
Why do you get a Surcharge?
Your New Jersey driving record is reviewed every time points or other serious violations are added to your driving record. If you accumulate six or more points within three years from your last posted violation, you will receive a $150 Surcharge plus $25 for each additional point. A points based Surcharge can result in a Surcharge for three years.
Additional violations that will result in a Surcharge due for three years:
• $100 for unlicensed driver or driver with expired license ($300 total)
• $250 for driving with a suspended license ($750 total)
• $100 for failure to insure a moped ($300 total)
• $250 for operating an uninsured vehicle ($750 total)
• $1,000 for first and second driving while intoxicated (DWI) ($3,000 total)
• $1,500 third DWI (if it occurs within three years last offense) ($4,500 total)
• $1,000 for refusing to take test to measure blood alcohol concentration ($3,000 total)
Surcharges can be discharged in bankruptcy if the violation(s) occurred prior to filing your case. I’ll tell you more about this in my next installment.