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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  Editorials    >    Stop Surcharging Tickets


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 Surcharging Tickets
Police and Law Enforcement News
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
8:50 a.m.

Earlier this month, it was reported that New Jersey State Senator Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, is proposing a $40 surcharge on all motor vehicle violations that would be used to help smaller municipalities pay for police.  It is estimated that this program could raise as much as $160 million dollars annually.

This is a mistake on several levels.


Penalties for motor vehicle violations exist to serve as a punishment for the committed violation and as a deterrent against further violation.  They are supposed to help make our roads safer.

Somewhere along the line the idea of generating revenue from motor vehicle violations came to light.  Instead of just serving as a penalty, tickets became yet another source of income for the state.

So today, some poor schmo who left his new registration on the kitchen counter gets banged with a 39:3-29 (Failure to Produce Credentials) now needs to come up with $173 for his fine.

Wait, he opted to go to court and make the payment in person, so the fine with the court costs is $203.00. 

Not so fast.

A middle class couple in central Jersey needs police protection but loves their small town’s low municipal tax rate.  After all, since their town doesn’t have to foot the bill for their own police department, life is good.

Let’s tack on forty more bucks to the poor schmo’s fine bringing the total up to $243.00 for his heinous crime of forgetting his registration.

At what point, at what friggin point did we accept that $243.00 is an appropriate fine for a credentials violation?  Or even $173?  For Pete’s sake, the credentials fine is bigger than the fine for speeding.  ...continued below...




It is hard enough for average people to survive in this state.  Surcharges like this foster the perception that the cops are revenue collectors for Trenton and that the state is out to screw the little guy at every turn.

One solution would be for us – the cops – to stop writing tickets. 

How about we all shut down and stop this entire revenue stream.  We'll settle into our radar spots with a sharp pencil, the day's crossword, and perhaps that warm beverage we love so much.

Oh wait, we cant. 

The reason we write tickets is to make the roads safer.

At least one of us remembers this.

The only people who should be paying any type of surcharge are those who live in the areas where the police coverage will be provided.
Police and Law Enforcement News
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
8:50 a.m.


Share you Thoughts on This Editorial

While all opinions will be considered, we will not post any messages that are inflammatory, that bash any ethnic group, or that are just beyond reason.  Letters will be reviewed and posted each day. reserves the right to alter, shorten, or decline any submission.  Use the scroll box below to submit your thoughts:




Your Comments

You forgot to mention the new legislation that ex governor McGreevy put into place. If you go to court to avoid insurance points on a speeding violation it will now cost you another $300.00 in surcharges. This puts police, especially the State Police into an unfair spot. I'm just waiting for a seatbelt ticket to go up to $180.00 lol.

I really wish some of these people creating bills and passing regulation would step down and get into the working Joe's shoes. This is not fair for the people. Corrupt individuals will do anything to get promoted to make more money in the end. Greeeeed will destroy human kind.

I got a better idea. how about we stop the county workers from driving brand new Excursions and vehicles of such and start using the money for Police in the towns who need it.   I'm all about the brotherhood but we need to take a better look at the situation on a closer level to us.  We make the county more money to waste and they are happy so they give us police money.  This is a ploy to make us all do better work so they can give themselves raises..  Play their game fellows and do some car stops!

As a PO, I never write a 3-29 (especially for reg.) unless the offender is a wiseass. Such a heavy fine for credentials you can verify is crazy. Use our discretion and when it is written, at least we know it was well deserved for that schmo.

Every law enforcement agency in the USA should be able to charge a surcharge! I work in Kansas and nothing from citations go back directly to the agencies! If you have not noticed it is very expensive to have officer's and equipment on the road these days.

-Jerry Gilbert

How about a little common sense here??? If the NJSP stops a violator in one of the towns in which they cover that does not have a local PD, they tack on the 40 dollar charge.

In terms of the towns that do have a police department, the fine is as is. Or am I asking too much of our leaders in this state to use common sense and to do the right thing?

You could just write written warnings. No fine and you still stop the car telling them what they did wrong. That way, you "enforce" the laws but don't screw the little guy working 7 days a week to barely make ends meet.

Let the individual towns pay for it... Don't let every citizen have to suffer...

Asking a small town like mine (under 2000 people) to create a PD is crazy- and none of the surrounding areas have PD's either (rural farmland)- so I guess regionalization looks good on paper but can't work here. 

Do the high crime cities that the NJSP has to bail out have to pay a share of the costs?? 

Response time here is good and the Troopers are very professional, I am glad they are the responders.  They would be here (right near Rt. 80) weather there was a town here or not.  Also... I thought I read that the entire reason the NJSP was created in the 1920's was to patrol the rural areas of NJ that did not have police departments.

Why is the revenue from my town's tickets going to fund state police in another town that is too cheap to start a police dept of their own.  96% of the state's municipalities have their own PD.  Get with it you cheap SOB's.

I agree the fines for certain (most) violations are way too high. I think the small towns should merge services. In Western Monmouth County there are a few towns that don't have coverage but it isn't a small town. It is open rural areas which the state police were created to patrol years ago. If the state police want to become the highway patrol that is one thing, but if they charge then they should be posted in these areas. (Get what you pay for) Because response time is generally 30mins - 1 hour and you never see a car in the area. In all reality regionalization is coming. It will take years and most of us will be retired but these small town departments and the political corruption are sinking this state. How is it in the south they have nicer roads and schools with less population density?

I think its a joke that all tickets will carry an additional surcharge for funding. I do however feel that these towns that get State Police Coverage should pay taxes for service like the rest of us.





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