In N.J., there are several different types of penalties that can be assessed against you when you are found guilty of a moving violation. If you just pay the ticket without going to Court, whether online or in person, you are admitting guilt, and exposing yourself to being hit with every type of penalty that can be assessed by the Court and the Motor Vehicle Commission.
As a N.J. criminal defense attorney, I am frequently called ‘after-the-fact’ – after someone has pled guilty by paying the ticket, often ‘because they had better things to do and didn’t want to waste their time sitting in Court’ – and, after they realize that there were consequences to paying the ticket that they had not known about.
The typical issues that these callers want to discuss, are ‘Why didn’t somebody tell me about these penalties?’; and, What needs to be done to ‘negotiate a reduction’ in the suspension, points or the surcharges?’. Unfortunately, most of those callers never read the warnings (online; on the wall of the clerk’s office; and, sometimes on the back of the tickets); that there are some tickets that result in additional penalties. Few ever do the research beforehand to learn all of the penalties they are likely to have imposed, based on the original charge. Few ever look to see what the possible downgrades are to the offense(s) they are charged with that may have lower penalties. Few understand that it is not the Court that imposed the points, surcharges or suspension…it was the N.J. MVC, just because they paid the ticket.
As with many things in life, it is far easier and less expensive (both in time and money) to try to negotiate a ticket down with a prosecutor before a plea, then it is to try to convince a Judge to allow you to retract your guilty plea (the one that was automatically entered when you paid the ticket) because you really didn’t understand the impact that the penalties were going to have on you. Until you get the Judge to agree to allow you to reopen the case, the MVC will not lift the penalties they imposed administratively, based on your plea. To address this type of problem, there is only one alternative, which is to seek to withdraw your plea with the Court where it was entered by you paying the ticket.
The danger to you in not having understood all of the ramifications of you ‘paying off the ticket’ can result in you not having a license that lets you do the driving…and you end up being issued one that can only be used while a passenger in the back seat…
The information contained in this blog post is intended as marketing, not advertising, as is more fully stated in the Disclaimer Page of this blog site. This post is strictly intended for general informational purposes only, and DOES NOT constitute legal advice on any legal matter in N.J. or in any other jurisdiction.
No attorney-client relationship is intended, offered or established by this information, even if it is similar in nature to a situation you are facing. Should you be confronted with a criminal prosecution or investigation, you are strongly advised to consult immediately with an experienced criminal defense lawyer licensed in the State or jurisdiction where the charges are filed, with whom you will have an attorney-client relationship, and can obtain legal advice on how to best handle your issues. This direct consultation should be done before you make any decisions in regards to your legal issue.