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Surcharge FAQ

What is a Surcharge?

A surcharge is a fine that is assessed by the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System (NJSVS) on an annual basis to drivers who have excessive points for traffic violations or have been convicted, in court, of specific offenses such as driving while intoxicated (DWI) and driving while suspended. Surcharges are in addition to any court fines and penalties. Laws requiring surcharge assessments, and penalties for non-payment, date back to 1983.  

Why am I being Surcharged?

Your driving record is reviewed whenever points or other serious offenses are added to your 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 over six.  A Surcharge based on accumulated points can result in you being surcharged annually for three years.

Additional violations that will result in an annual Surcharge 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 DWI ($3,000 total)
  • $1,500 3rd DWI  (if it occurs within three years of last offense) ($4,500 total)
  • $1,000 for refusing to take test to measure blood alcohol concentration ($3,000 total)

What are the penalties if I do not pay the Surcharge?

If you ignore the notices requesting payment and do not pay your Surcharges, your driver’s license will be suspended.

If you receive a Suspension Order, do not continue to drive.  Operating a vehicle while suspended is a serious motor vehicle violation requiring additional fines and surcharges.

If after receiving a Suspension Order, you do not make surcharge payments, a Certificate of Debt is filed with the Superior Court for the amount owed.  Also known as a "judgment," the certificate allows the state to collect unpaid surcharges without your consent.  Judgments prevent the transfer or sale of personal property and may also lead to wage garnishment.  Judgments include collection costs and an interest rate is applied to the unpaid balance.  Surcharge debtors are also reported to the leading credit bureaus.  The state maintains contracts with collection and law firms to collect unpaid surcharge debts. 

How will I be notified of a Surcharge due?

You will receive an official notice from the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System detailing your Surcharge. The notice will be sent to the address you provided to the Motor Vehicle Commission. 

Can you help me understand the Surcharge billing notice?
The billing notice includes a summary of surcharges, total amount due and a possible payment installment amount.  The payment installment amount is a portion of the total Surcharge debt, spread out over six or more months.  If you choose to pay using the installment amount, every payment is due on the same day each month until the debt is paid in full.

The notice provides information on the violation event(s) that are being surcharged and also warns that driving privileges may be suspended for failing to pay.  If your license privileges have been suspended, the billing notice also provides a "restoration amount due." This is the minimum surcharge amount that must be paid in order to restore your license privileges.  After paying at least the “restoration amount due” and the MVC's $100 license restoration fee, your license can be restored.

The bottom of each notice lists payment options including, online (debit/credit, e-check), pay-by-phone, Western Union and by mail.   When making payment by mail, be sure to include the bottom tear-off portion of the notice so that your payment is applied to the correct surcharge account.

I have been suspended for not paying Surcharges.  What do I do now?

If your driving privileges are suspended for not paying Surcharges, you will receive a Suspension Order notice.  This suspension remains active on your motor vehicle record until you make the required surcharge payment and pay the MVC license restoration fee of $100.  Do not drive until you are notified that your license has been restored.  Drivers charged with driving while suspended face more serious charges including suspension terms, fines and additional surcharges.   Contact the billing office at (888-651-9999) to discuss payment options.  

Should I notify the MVC if I have changed my address?

If you move, the law requires you to notify the MVC within seven days. Visit Change your address to update the address on your driving record.  If you move out-of-state, you must report all changes of address to be certain that you satisfy the Surcharge requirements.
Do I have to pay Surcharges if I move outside of New Jersey?

Yes.  You are responsible for paying Surcharges even if you move out of New Jersey and surrender your NJ driver’s license to obtain a license in your new state of residence.  If your driving privileges are suspended by New Jersey, you are reported to the National Driver Registry.  Other states review the registry before licensing or renewing a driver’s license.  Other states will not issue a license to you if you are suspended for not paying surcharges in New Jersey.

Does Surcharge use the date I was issued the ticket for speeding?

No.  First, the court processes the ticket.  If you are convicted, your license information and the ticket (violation) is sent to the MVC.  The system then enters the violation on your driver record.  This is called the "posting date."  The posting date is used to determine when a surcharge is assessed, not the date the ticket was issued or when the court processes a conviction. 

I don’t understand, why am I still getting a Surcharge for points after three years?

Point surcharges can be confusing.  Here is an example:  A driver receives a four-point violation in year one.  There is no surcharge.  In year two, the driver receives a two-point violation.  The total is six points and the driver is surcharged $150.  In year three, the four -point violation is only two years old and the two-point violation is only one year old.  There are still six total points on the record and another $150 surcharge is assessed.  In year four, the four-point violation is over three years old and is no longer counted.  The total surchargeable points is two and the driver is not assessed a surcharge.  If the driver received four additional points in year four, they would again be surcharged $150.

I was suspended for not paying Surcharges and received another bill that has a restoration amount.  What is the surcharge restoration amount?

The surcharge restoration amount and license restoration fee must be paid to satisfy your suspension.  The surcharge restoration amount is 5% of the total surcharge balance due when you were suspended.  For example, if the balance due at the time of suspension was $1,000, the restoration amount is $50 plus the $100 MVC license restoration fee ($150 total).

Does the annual safe driving credit or a defensive driving class stop Surcharges?

No.  The three-point credit for safe driving and the two-point reduction for attending a defensive driving class do not reduce a surcharge point total. 

Is there a phone number that I can call for more information?

You may call the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System, (888) 651-9999.

How long will a Surcharge suspension stay on my record?

If you are requesting a standard driver abstract for employment or other purposes, the suspension and all other violations over the preceding five years are reported.  Your driver record does not include surcharge billing and payment information.

I received a second DWI and now have a one-year suspension.  I can’t get to work and won’t be able to pay surcharges.  Does the state have a hardship or work license that will allow me to drive to work?

No. The state does not have a special license for suspended drivers to drive to work.  If possible, request a payment plan or pay what you can towards the surcharge debt. 
Can I write to the Governor to request a pardon or hold on Surcharges?

Violations causing surcharges are a result of court convictions.  After conviction, only the court can determine if the violation was not valid.  The court notifies the MVC if a surchargeable violation needs to be removed from a driver record. If the violation is removed, the surcharge is also removed and any payments made can be refunded.  The Governor and the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission do not have the authority, under state laws, to remove court violations or delay payment of surcharges. For questions regarding the appeal of a court conviction, contact the court that convicted you.

I have a driver’s license issued by another state and was convicted of DWI in New Jersey.  Since I'm not licensed in New Jersey, why am I being surcharged?

The Surcharge statute (state law) requires the assessment of surcharges on any driver convicted of DWI in New Jersey.  If you do not pay the surcharge, your privilege to drive in New Jersey will be suspended.  This suspension will be reported to the National Driver Registry.  Prior to license renewal, your state will check the registry for suspensions.   Unless you satisfy the New Jersey suspension by paying surcharges and restoring your NJ license privileges, most states will not renew your license.

Can I be surcharged for an out-of-state DWI?

Yes.  The surcharge statute (state law) requires the assessment of surcharges if you hold a New Jersey driver’s license and are convicted in another state of a violation substantially similar to New Jersey's DWI statute.  Violations committed in other states are reported to New Jersey and entered on your driver record.
I filed for bankruptcy.  How does that affect the surcharges that I owe?

If you have a surcharge assessment and have filed for bankruptcy, a copy of your bankruptcy petition needs to be forwarded to the Surcharge Administration Office, P.O. Box 136, Trenton, NJ, 08666 or faxed to (609) 633-8273.  After the MVC receives the petition, a hold will be placed on your surcharge account and any surcharge suspensions will be satisfied. If an MVC restoration fee is due, you will be responsible for that payment.

Once your bankruptcy case is discharged, the Surcharge Administration has the ability to write-off the entire balance on all pre-petition event violations.  However, you will be responsible and billed for all post-petition surchargeable violations.  These are violations you incurred after filing for bankruptcy.  Please note that only surcharge assessments are dischargeable.  Judgments are non-dischargeable.  To have the judgments satisfied, you will need to pay them in full, or petition the Superior Court, a year after your discharge, to have the judgments vacated.

If your bankruptcy case is dismissed, you will be responsible and billed for the entire balance of your surcharge account. If you re-file or your case is re-opened, you will need to mail or fax the Surcharge Administration.  Please contact the Bankruptcy Unit at (609) 292-7500, extension #5025 for further information.

How can I pay my Surcharge?

You will receive a billing notice, it will include a payment envelope.  Payment by check or money order is acceptable.  If you do not have the payment envelope, please use the address noted below in this FAQ. Do not send surcharge payments to the MVC. they will be returned.  If you only need to pay an MVC license restoration fee, visit the restoration fee payment link.

There are several ways of paying your Surcharge:

  • Pay with debit/credit card or e-check via the internet:   Go to
  • Pay with debit/credit card via telephone: Call toll-free (888) 651-9999
  • Pay with cash: Visit a Western Union location in New Jersey or nationwide
  • Send a check or money order, payable to NJSVS, to:

                P.O. Box 4850
                Trenton, NJ 08650-4850

Surcharge Payment plans are available as detailed on your bill. You can call (888) 651-9999 for more information.  You may also use this number to automatically access individual account and payment information, obtain Surcharge program information, and make credit card or check payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Accepted credit cards include: Visa, Discover and MasterCard.

Tenemos representantes que hablan español disponibles de 8 de la mañana hasta las 5 de la tarde de lunes a viernes (888-651-9999).

Can I combine my Surcharge and restoration fee payments?

Surcharge payments are payable to the New Jersey Violation System (NJSVS).  Restoration fees are payable to the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC).  Mailing combined payments will delay posting of your payment or restoration. For your convenience, pay your surcharges online.   Once surcharge payment is made you will be directed to MVC’s online restoration fee payment option.

Can I visit an MVC location to pay surcharges and restore my license?

Yes. The MVC will process a surcharge payment if it is required to restore your license. 
Only Full Service Motor Vehicle Agencies accept these payments.
My account is with a collection firm, can I make an online payment to NJSVS?
Yes. All customers owing surcharges can pay online.

Should I pay my surcharge balance in full or make installment payments (payment plan)?

You are encouraged to make payment in full.  If you are unable to do so, you can request an installment payment plan.  However, any judgments will remain outstanding until the debt is paid in-full.  To be enrolled in an installment payment plan, you must first remit the installment amount listed on the front of the billing notice by the indicated due date.  The remaining Surcharge balance will be billed in monthly installments.  Interest on judgments will continue during the payment plan.  If you cannot afford the plan amount as listed on your billing notice, call the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System, (888) 651-9999, to discuss other possible payment arrangements.

I serve in the military and will be stationed overseas. Can I get assistance with Surcharge payments?

A temporary billing hold can be placed on your surcharge account.  You will need to mail or fax a copy of your overseas deployment documentation and driver’s license number to the Surcharge Administration Office, P.O. Box 136, Trenton, NJ, 08666, fax (609) 633-8273.  Your billing hold will be automatically released when your deployment ends.  You must notify the Surcharge Administration Office at (609)984-1866 if your deployment ends early or if you have any questions.

I am unable to drive due to a medical condition; can I request a billing hold?

Yes. A hold may be placed on your account if your doctor certifies that your medical condition permanently prevents you from driving.  You will also need to surrender your driver’s license but may replace the license with a Non-Driver ID.   Contact the Surcharge Administration Office at (609)-984-1866 for more information.     

Are Surcharge payments required while incarcerated?

Yes. Billing continues during the period of incarceration.  It is important to contact the MVC at (609) 292-7500 prior to parole/release in order to identify outstanding violations and to determine how to restore license privileges.  After making payments equal to the restoration amount due, a payment plan, considering your income level, can be requested.

Why was my tax refund applied to my Surcharge?

If a judgment is filed against you for failure to pay your Surcharge, the NJ Legislature has authorized the use of the Set Off of Individual Liability (SOIL) program.   This means that monies owed to you by the State, such as a NJ State income tax refund or property tax rebate will  be redirected to help pay off your Surcharge debt.  If you have filed jointly and your spouse is responsible for surcharge debt, contact the MVC’s SOIL unit, (609) 292-7500, by following the prompts.  You may be eligible to receive half of the income tax refund.

I have a judgment due to non-payment of my Surcharge. How do I satisfy the judgment?

To satisfy judgment debt, full payments must be made in certified funds (U.S. postal money order, attorney trust account check or certified bank check).  All uncertified payments (personal check, credit/debit card) will delay the filing of a Warrant of Satisfaction by two months.  To obtain a Warrant of Satisfaction, contact the Superior Court of New Jersey, Judgment Unit, Attn: Clerks Office/Customer Service, P.O. Box 971, Trenton, NJ 08625-0971, or phone (609) 421-6100.

Can I talk to someone about my Surcharge debt?

Contact the Customer Service Center toll free at (888) 651-9999.  Representatives are available between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday to assist you.

You may also use this number to automatically access individual account and payment information, obtain Surcharge program information, and make credit card and check payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Tenemos representantes que hablan español disponibles de 8 de la mañana hasta las 5 de la tarde de lunes a viernes (888) 651-9999.