Traffic Ticket FAQ in New Jersey

What do I do if I get a traffic ticket in New Jersey?

Unless your citation states that you must appear in court, you can plead guilty and pay your fine or plead not guilty and fight the ticket in court.

For many drivers, pleading guilty and paying their fines is more appealing than trying to prove their innocence in court―especially because New Jersey has a convenient online payment system for traffic ticket fines and related surcharges.

However, if you believe you're innocent or the officer treated you unfairly, contesting your ticket in court might seem like the better option.

Our Paying Your Traffic Ticket and Fighting Your Traffic Ticket sections explain each option in more detail.

How can I get a traffic ticket dismissed?

Contest the ticket and win your case. NJ courts don't dismiss tickets for attending any kind of defensive driving course.

What if I have a NJ CDL and get a traffic ticket?

Decide whether you want to plead guilty or not guilty, and notify your employer within 30 days if you're convicted.

Overall, the processes are the same as they are for regular drivers, but CDL drivers can face stiffer penalties if they're convicted. Refer to our Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties section to learn more.

What if I am younger than 21 and get a DUI ticket?

For a BAC of 0.01% or higher, if you are under 21 years old, you face:

  • License suspension for 30 to 90 days.
  • Community service for 15 to 30 days.
  • Alcohol education and highway safety program participation.

Learn more about DUI penalties.

What if I'm a student driver and commit a traffic violation?

You'll face basically the same penalties; however, responsibility will fall on both you and your instructor or the adult supervising you.

Will taking a motorcycle safety course help me with a traffic ticket I got while riding?

No, but don't feel left out. NJ courts don't dismiss tickets for any drivers who take driving courses.

Can I take a defensive driving course to reduce the number of driver's license points on my driving record?

Yes. The MVC will deduct 2 points from your driving record if you complete a state-approved course. You can enroll once every 5 years.

Depending on your situation, you might get 3 points knocked off your record for completing a Driver Improvement Program (DIP) or Probationary Driver Program (PDP), though these are for drivers in sticky point accumulation situations―not for those who just want to reduce points on a voluntary basis.

Learn more about each of these options (or requirements) in our Defensive Driving section.

Why is it a good idea to order a driving record?

When you order a copy of your driving record, you can make sure the MVC:

  • Removed the points from your record after you completed a defensive driving, DIP, or PDP course.
  • Didn't add any more points to your record than the number applicable to your violation (if you plead or are found guilty).
  • Didn't add any points to your record (if you're found not guilty).

Our NJ Driving Records section will help you learn how to get a copy of your record.

What is the cost of my traffic ticket?

First, understand that your traffic ticket fine alone will vary depending on the violation. For example, a run-of-the-mill speeding ticket won't cost the same as a ticket for improperly changing lanes. Check your traffic ticket for your specific fine.

Second, know that a variety of other fees affect your total costs. You'll have to pay court costs and, depending on your violation, related surcharges. For example, there's a surcharge for hitting a certain number of points, DUI-related violations, and getting caught driving without a license.

Check out Traffic Ticket Fines and Penalties for more information.

How many points will I get if convicted?

The number of points you'll acquire depends on the violation. Points range from two to five, increasing with the seriousness of the violation. Note that unless you (or your attorney) are able to work out a plea agreement with the judge, you’ll receive points for each violation your receive during a stop.

Are traffic ticket fines the same throughout the state?

Yes. They vary by violation, but each violation's cost is the same throughout the state.

How can I find a lost traffic ticket online?

You probably can't. The state's NJMCdirect system (the same system drivers can use to pay their traffic tickets) will provide you with citation information if you can give the court identification, ticket prefix, and ticket numbers. Because your ticket is missing, it's unlikely you have this information.

Visit our Lost NJ Traffic Tickets page for other ways to retrieve lost citations.

When is it a good idea to hire a traffic ticket attorney?

It's always a good idea to hire a traffic ticket attorney whenever you're not comfortable or knowledgeable enough to navigate the legal system on your own.

Your lawyer can help you:

  • Prepare your case and even testify in court, if you don't want to speak for yourself.
  • Negotiate a plea agreement with lesser penalties.
  • File an appeal (if you're found guilty).

How many driving record points can I accumulate before the state suspends my driver's license?

New Jersey can suspend your license for if you accumulate 12 points; however, the MVC (or your judge, depending on the situation) usually offers drivers the opportunity to enroll in the Driver Improvement Program (DIP) in lieu of suspension.

Learn more about point reduction before suspension and the DIP.

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