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What Are New Jersey Traffic Court Records?
New Jersey traffic court records are legal documents and case files created, from the proceedings of the traffic courts in the state of New Jersey. These include records related to moving & non-moving violations, parking violations and equipment violations, under the motor vehicle code, within the state of New Jersey.
Are New Jersey Traffic Court Records Public Records?
As with all other states, New Jersey traffic court records fall under the public records law and may be accessed and viewed by members of the public, except where these records have been restricted from public access by a judge or the law.
Getting a Traffic Ticket in New Jersey.
A New Jersey Uniform Traffic Citation Ticket is usually a computer-generated long-form issued for traffic violations, by law enforcement officers. This represents a sworn statement from the officer describing the observed violation. It is issued by a state, county or municipal police or sheriff department officer and will be completed by the officer. It will show the bio-data of the offender including full name, date of birth, social security number, physical & mailing addresses (if different) and details of the license and vehicle involved. The nature of the charge being cited for will also be listed, along with the location where the alleged offense occurred with the date and time. The statute or ordinance the offender is accused of violating will also be included on the ticket and the county where the violation occurred as well as the ID and address of the court which the offender will need to appear before.
The ticket will also show the due date for a response and whether a court appearance will be required. The ticketing or arresting officer will include his Officer Identification number and might include details in his own words of the incident. If the fine to be paid is not listed on the ticket, then you will need to contact the county court listed to ascertain the amount. Upon getting a citation you will be expected to sign before receiving your copy. Signing the ticket is not an admission of guilt, but rather an acknowledgment of the offenses you have been charged for.
New Jersey traffic tickets come with financial repercussions. These could come to include penalty fines and court fees. The offender is also facing the possibility of points being added on their driving record, which can lead to suspension or revocation of your license by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). Fines vary by the violation (determined by presiding laws and statutes) and sometimes by the court, so a fine for speeding above the designated limit will differ from a fine for a DUI. The ticket may also include information on contesting the charge.
Apart from fines, based on the nature of the cited violation and the outcome, additional penalties can also be incurred. The offender's license type and driving record history may also affect these penalties. A specific number of penalty points, based on the violation, will be added to the record of a convicted driver. Accumulation of a certain number of points over any period, usually up to 12 points will result in a suspension of your license. Receiving 6 or more points within 3 years will result in a surcharge which you will have to pay annually for 3 years.
Traffic violations are classified as moving and non-moving violations. Moving violations are traffic laws violated by a vehicle in motion, while Non-moving violations tend to relate to parking or faulty violations. Non-moving violations also can occur when the car is moving but are differentiated by the treatment of the courts and New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), as non-moving violations are not reported to the MVC and will not appear on your driving record.
What to Do When You Get a Traffic Ticket in New Jersey?
Upon receiving a traffic ticket in New Jersey, you are required to respond and either
- Pay Ticket.
- Contest Ticket
If you choose to pay your ticket then you are essentially pleading GUILTY to the citation and you have consented to accept responsibility for the violation and agreed to all associated penalties, including all fines, fees, and surcharges arising from this plea. You have also consented to waive your right to challenge the ticket in court. It will appear as a conviction on your record.
If a court appearance is not required, the ticket can be paid in person at the office of the court clerk, via mail and online. If you choose to do this, the ticket citation number, your driver’s license and proof of insurance will be required. Different courts may require different forms of payment, so verify with the particular court before proceeding to make the payment.
If a court appearance is required, the first appearance (arraignment) will be where you will enter your GUILTY plea before the judge and acquiesce to pay off your fines and associated charges. Your ticket cannot be paid off beforehand if a court appearance is required. This will be seen as a conviction and will result in points being added to your driving record.
If you choose to plead NOT GUILTY, then you are exercising your right to face a judge and contest your ticket.
You can choose to appear in court on the due date indicated on your ticket to inform the judge of your plea and have a hearing (arraignment). It is then most likely a future date will be set for your trial. Some courts, however, do prefer that you send a notification of your intention to contest the ticket within 3 days of your court date. The court clerk will then either schedule a new date for your hearing or tell you to appear on the set date. Failure to appear on your court date, without proper notice will result in a Failure to Appear notice being issued against you. This could result in more fines and penalties and even a bench warrant being issued for your arrest.
You will have to prepare your defense and should consider professional representation.
On completion of the trial, if you are found NOT GUILTY by the court, then all charges will be dropped and there will be no fines, penalties or points added to your driving record. However, you will be liable for court costs.
On completion of the trial, if you are found GUILTY you will be instructed on your penalties by the court and these could include fines and other penalties (depending on the severity of the charge) and points will be added to your driving record. You will also be liable for court costs.
There is a possibility of reaching an agreement (plea bargain) with the prosecutor (usually an Assistant District Attorney), which might prevent points from being added to your driving record. It will involve pleading guilty to lesser charges and usually occurs on the first court date (arraignment) but must be done before the trial date.
How do I find New Jersey Traffic Court Records?
Traffic court records may be available online, on each county or municipality court’s website or third-party websites such as courtrecords.org. In all jurisdictions, the public may gain access to physical court records by approaching the custodian of all such records, the municipal court clerk’s office. To view or obtain physical traffic court records from any court, the applicant may visit the court clerk’s office where the case was filed and the records were created. The applicant may be able to look through the records free of charge if they do not request a copy. Copying of court records may attract fees.
Publicly available records are accessible from some third-party websites. These websites offer the benefit of not being limited by geographical record availability and can often serve as a starting point when researching specific or multiple records. To find a record using the search engines on these sites, interested parties must provide:
- The name of someone involved providing it is a not a juvenile
- The assumed location of the record in question such as a city, county, or state name
Third party sites are not government sponsored websites, and record availability may differ from official channels.
What information is required to obtain New Jersey Traffic Court Records?
Any person interested in obtaining traffic court records must provide necessary information such as the first and last name of the person whose traffic court records are requested. Depending on the type of record required, whether an abbreviated or a complete abstract, the interested person may be required to provide valid identification for verification of their identity. Payment of court fees, if and where applicable, is also a prerequisite for obtaining court records in New Jersey.
Are all Traffic Violations handled the same way, in New Jersey?
While the fines and penalties differ for New Jersey traffic violations and these are typically indicated on the ticket, the process for handling a citation is executed in the same manner, regardless of the type or severity of the citation. So while the penalties associated with not wearing a seatbelt will most likely be less than the penalties for a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated), the process for responding to both citations, and the subsequent processes, will be the same.
Can New Jersey Traffic Records be sealed or expunged?
In the state of New Jersey moving traffic violations are not eligible to be expunged from your record unless you were not convicted of the charge or had the charge dismissed. Non-moving violations such as parking and equipment violations can be expunged in all states.
How does one end up in a New Jersey State Traffic court?
You end up in a New Jersey state traffic court if after receiving a traffic ticket from a ticketing officer; he indicates on the ticket that a court appearance is required. This usually occurs when the offense is considered more serious than a minor traffic violation.
You can also end up in traffic court if the ticketing officer indicates no court appearance is required on the ticket but you choose to contest the ticket by pleading not guilty and requesting a trial. A court appearance will be required to enter the plea as it must be done in person.
Are All New Jersey Traffic Court Records Available Online?
Which Courts in New Jersey have jurisdiction to hear traffic violation matters?
In New Jersey, traffic cases are assigned for hearing in the municipal district or county where the violation was alleged to have occurred, and are heard by the requisite municipal or county courts.