If you got pulled over in New Jersey and it is not your home state, you might be feeling stressed, confused and uncomfortable. Whether you were driving through the Atlantic City Expressway or the Garden State Parkway, getting an out-of-state traffic violation is never fun. Here is a quick guide to dealing with the consequences of getting a New Jersey traffic violation.
1. How it affects your license
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission will add out-of-state traffic violation points to your license and driving record. You will be faced with a fine that varies depending on the amount, type and frequency of your violations. While New Jersey does not have a Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend your license, it does report the violations to your home state per an agreement in the Interstate Driver's License Compact. The status of your license will then depend on the points system of your home state.
2. How it affects your insurance
Committing traffic violations and having points on your record directly affects your insurance. Your insurance carrier interprets these points as indicators of how likely you are to be involved in an accident. Because the company will likely see you as a higher risk, your rates may be raised. In the case of a high-risk conviction such as a DUI, reckless driving or excessive speeding, your insurance company could suspend your coverage.
3. Unsafe driving
It is important to recognize that your home state might interpret the New Jersey points system differently. For example, New Jersey has a zero-point penalty for unsafe driving. Your home state might treat this violation as careless driving and add points to your record. Therefore, a zero-point violation may not actually mean you will not get zero points on your record.
4. Two state compacts
Besides the compact mentioned above, there are more important ways that states share information about traffic violation:
- Nonresident Violator Compact: Guarantees out-of-state drivers certain rights and notifies home states of non-payment.
- Driver License Compact: Notifies the home state and exchanges details on license suspension.
These compacts make it very rare that your home state will not be notified of your traffic violation.
If you got pulled over and received a ticket as a nonresident, you might be confused about what to do. Understanding how New Jersey treats violations and communicates with other states is important. If you are concerned about your violation and have further questions, consult a criminal defense attorney who handles motor vehicle violations.