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Surcharge FAQ

What is a Surcharge?

Surcharges are fines assessed by the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System (NJSVS) on an annual basis for drivers who have  excessive points for traffic violations or have been convicted in court for specific offenses such as driving while intoxicated (DWI). Surcharges are in addition to any court fines/penalties. Laws requiring surcharge assessments and penalties for non-payment date back to 1983.  Surcharges help pay for state bond debt and a portion of the revenue collected helps to fund treatment programs for alcoholism and alcohol dependency among drunk drivers.

Why am I being charged a Surcharge?

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.  A points based Surcharge can result in a Surcharge for three years.

Additional violations that will result in a Surcharge due each year 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 do not pay your Surcharges, you will receive a notice scheduling the suspension of your driver license.  It is important to pay before the due date to avoid license suspension.  Suspensions remain until you contact the billing office, make payment arrangements and payment.  A restoration fee of $100 will also be required.  If you are suspended and do not make surcharge payments, the law requires the MVC to file a Certificate of Debt for the amount owed with the NJ Superior Court.  The Court then issues a judgment on surcharge debts.   A judgment allows the state to collect unpaid surcharges through involuntary actions.   A judgment, until satisfied, will prevent the transfer or sale of personal property.  A judgment may also lead to wage garnishment.  Judgments include collection costs and an interest rate is charged on the unpaid balance.  Surcharge debtors are also reported to the leading credit bureaus.  The state maintains contracts with collection and law firms to collect surcharge debts.  Failing to pay surcharges leads to license suspension, undesirable collection actions and additional financial penalties.  Contact the billing office at (888)-651-9999 to avoid these penalties.

How will I be notified of a Surcharge due?

You will receive an official notice from New Jersey Surcharge Violation System detailing your Surcharge. The notice will be sent to your address showing on your MVC driving record.  To contact the New Jersey Surcharge Violation System, call (888) 651-9999

Please help me understand the surcharge billing notice.

The billing notice includes a summary of charges, total amount due and an installment amount.  The installment amount is a portion of the total amount due spread over six or more months.  If you choose to pay the installment amount, it is due the same day each month.   The notice provides information on the violation event(s) that are surcharged and also warns that driving privileges may be suspended for failing to pay.  If your license privilege has been suspended, the billing notice provides a "restoration amount due." This is the minimum surcharge amount that can be paid to restore your license privilege.  After paying the restoration amount and $100 license restoration fee, your next bill will include an installment amount due.  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 so that your payment is applied to the correct surcharge account.

How can 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 until you have satisfied 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 license to obtain a license in your new state of residence.  If your driving privilege is suspended by New Jersey, you are reported to the National Driver Registry.  Other states review the registry before licensing or renewing a driver license.  Other states will not issue you a license if you are suspended for not paying surcharges.
 
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 I’m still getting a surcharge for points after two 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 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 I can call for more information?

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 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.  However, bills supporting a hardship or work license have been considered by the NJ legislature.   If possible, request a payment plan or pay what you can towards the surcharge debt. 

Can I write to the Governor and request a pardon or hold on surcharges?

Violations causing surcharges are due to 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 removed, the surcharge is also removed.  The Governor and the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission do not have 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 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 privilege, 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 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 I owe?

If you have a surcharge assessment and 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. The petition must include information that Surcharge Administration was listed as a creditor and that the case was filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  After we receive the petition, a hold will be placed on your surcharge accounts and any outstanding suspensions will be satisfied pending finalization of your case. If a restoration fee is due, you will be responsible for payment.

Once your bankruptcy case is discharged, Surcharge Administration has the ability to write-off the entire balance on all pre-petition event violations based on your bankruptcy filing status.  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 accounts. If you re-file or your case is re-opened, you will need to mail or fax Surcharge Administration (609)-633-8273 the court orders.  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 includes a payment envelope.  Payment by check or money order is acceptable.  If you do not have the payment envelope, please use the address noted elsewhere in this FAQ.  You can pay your surcharges online or call New Jersey Surcharge Violation System (888-651-9999).  Payments can also be made at Western Union locations throughout New Jersey and the United States. If you only need to pay a 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 www.njsurcharge.com
  • Pay with debit/credit card via telephone: Call toll free at 888-651-9999
  • Pay with cash: Visit a Western Union location in New Jersey and nationwide
  • Send a check or money order payable to:

                NJSVS
                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.
Tenemos representantes que hablan espanol disponibles de 8 de la manana 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.  Mailing combined payments will delay posting of your payment or restoration.  If suspended for non-payment, your suspension remains until payment is made.  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. But only after making arrangements with your collection firm.

If I cannot pay the entire amount at once, can I arrange a payment plan and still reinstate my driving privileges?

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 IPP.  If you cannot afford the plan amount as listed on your billing notice, call New Jersey Surcharge Violation System (888-651-9999) to discuss other possible payment arrangements. 

I serve in the military and will be stationed overseas, I need 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 license number to 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 and you are unemployed.  You will also need to surrender your driver 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 a license privilege.  After making payments equal to the restoration amount due, a payment plan considering 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, it is showing on my credit report.

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.  Proof of Payment may be obtained from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Records Management Unit, P.O. Box 971, Trenton, NJ  08625, or phone (609)-292-4685.

I want to talk to someone about my Surcharge debt.

The toll-free number to our Customer Service Center is 888-651-9999.  A representative is available between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday to assist you. 

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

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.