New Jersey Surcharge

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New Jersey Surcharge is the program that New Jersey uses of charging an additional fee through the Department of Motor Vehicles that is generally two to three times the amount of a traffic violation in addition to the original ticket in order to bring in extra money for the state budget. The program was originally created to help subsidize state bonds for drivers who could not afford insurance but the revenue now mostly goes to the state's discretionary general fund.[1] New Jersey is the only state in the country with this type of surcharge program. In the last few years,[when?] the state has charged drivers $583 million in surcharge fees, but the majority of those charged could not afford to pay the fines and had their driving privileges suspended because of their inability to pay.[2]

The legislature acknowledged that the program created a vicious cycle as many of those who fell behind on payment lost their license and were unable to get to work, making it even less likely that they would ever regain their license or escape the debt.[2] Even those who filed for bankruptcy found themselves unable to escape the fines and penalties created from the surcharge program.[3]

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