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Old 10-17-2007, 09:47 PM
 
Location: NJ
173 posts, read 537,299 times
Reputation: 42

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Just moved here from out of state couple of months ago and are regretting it after tonight. It was my first time ever in traffic court in New Jersey tonight and found out not only how desperate the state is for your money but also how corrupted the traffic system is.

I had a 2-pt ticket 4:81 failure to observe signal. It was a ticket I got because I got lost going through myriad of signs and streets in the city. I took a left turn out of a staight only street and got caught. Normally in another state (in this case, Pennsylvania and Virginia), a court date is a court date. It is the date for you to go before the judge and plead your case. Then he decides whether you are guilty, not guilty, or amend your charges. If they amend your charge, it would be the same fine but with no or reduced points. Not in this state or city. Court date and trial date is two separate animals.

“If you wish to plead not guilty, you must notify the court at the address and phone number as shown below at least 7 days prior to the court date listed on the front of the ticket. If you fail to notify the court, it may be necessary to make additional court appearances.”

Apparently, this statement on the ticket doesn’t count. I had notified the court on the phone and by mail at least 2 weeks before the court date and received a court date. So I expect to make it for one day and be done with. But that is not the case, court date in my case is for me to:

1. Plead guilty. Pay the fine and court fee.
2. Plead not guilty. Get a trial date set up.
3. Talk to the prosecutor and get it amended.

With exception of the first one, there are major problems with 2 and 3. And why would anyone come to court to plead guilty anyway if the Judge is not hearing your case?

As for number 2, I have already called in and wrote in to get the court date, why shouldn’t the police officer who wrote the ticket show up on the court date. So it is ok for the system to inconvenience the citizens, but not ask the officers to do the job that they are charged to do? If I do decide to plead not guilty, this is where the system start to look and sound corrupted. I had the prosecutor tell me that if I plead not guilty, went to trial, and lost, my fine will be bigger with the extra fine used to pay the officer’s time in court. What??!!! I would gladly pay a court fee for the judge’s and court’s time even if it is $100 or $200, but paying the opposing witness to testify against me? Are they on crack? Is this China or Cuba or North Korea?

For number 3, it showed the state is hungry for your money and will get it using any means possible. The amendment that everyone with 2 points received on the date was: Unsafe Driving, no points, $150 fine, $250 surcharge, and $39 court fee for $439 total. So it was either $85 plus $39 for guilty and 2 points or $439 with no points. Wow. It was $265 to trade for 2 points. It is almost extortion in my opinion. The statement is telling the citizens, “If you have money, it is ok. If not, you are so out of luck.” I continued to pressure the prosecutor after the initial offer and see if I can get it amended to another charge but failed in vain. As the time passed, I saw several attorneys that were able to get the same prosecutor to amend the 2 pt tickets to become a $45 no point ticket plus court fee. Talk about the double standard in the system. Citizens, bad deal. Attorneys, good deal. They did all this in front of our eye as if we are blind. I end up hiring an attorney right on the spot for couple of hundred and saved $150 over the recommended offer from the prosecutor. What a way to transfer wealth from the state government to attorneys. My final cost is $45 plus court fee for a total of $85 with no points on 4:145, failure to yield. I got out of the court in less than 5 minutes after I hired the attorney as anyone with an attorney goes first before anyone in the line. No wonder they say New Jersey is the most corrupt state in the entire US with two third of the citizens upset over the political system.

For anyone that says maybe I should’ve try and not get this ticket in the first place. I agree, but everyone make some sort of mistake once in awhile. Many of the people that I talked to in the court were first time offender in the state if not in the entire nation. Mistake happens, but it shouldn’t become a weapon for the government to extract as much money out of you as possible.

Last edited by va-jc; 10-17-2007 at 11:10 PM..
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Old 10-17-2007, 10:05 PM
 
Location: NJ
329 posts, read 1,312,104 times
Reputation: 154
Welcome to New jersey! In all fairness though, this type of buy-out is becoming more popular nationwide. What a way for the states to rake it in! Yea, call it legalized extortion because that's exactly what it is. My 21 year old son (3x's) is among several people that I know that have bought their way out of these pt. tickets. Money talks, once again. Sorry for your experience.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:34 AM
 
Location: GA
2,736 posts, read 9,339,539 times
Reputation: 1075
Sorry this happened to you. Don't let it ruin living in NJ for you. Hopefully you can put it behind you. I'm sure there are other states with similar (or worse) systems.
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Old 10-18-2007, 06:43 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry NC/Randolph NJ/Cape Coral FL
12,925 posts, read 24,048,548 times
Reputation: 10734
I feel for you
But have you any idea how much those 2 points would have raised your insurance for 3 years in NJ??
They have in traffic court for sure
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:01 AM
 
Location: 32°19'03.7"N 106°43'55.9"W
7,962 posts, read 16,769,780 times
Reputation: 6907
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJTina View Post
Welcome to New jersey! In all fairness though, this type of buy-out is becoming more popular nationwide. What a way for the states to rake it in! Yea, call it legalized extortion because that's exactly what it is. My 21 year old son (3x's) is among several people that I know that have bought their way out of these pt. tickets. Money talks, once again. Sorry for your experience.
It's not how it works here, Tina. Since moving here, I've gotten 3 speeding tickets, and my wife, 1. Each time, we paid a $58 speeding ticket, with no points. There are no points here. I'm not kidding. The only way I suppose your insurance goes up is if you are at fault in an accident. How it works, I have no clue. The first time I got pulled over, I thought 'oh crap!, there goes my insurance premium.' But it never happened. Then I asked someone I knew here about how many points for speeding 12 mph over the speed limit is in New Mexico, and his response was "What are points?"
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Lived Large in Parsippany NJ - Lived Larger in Livingston, NJ -- Now Living Huge in Bethlehem PA
460 posts, read 1,961,019 times
Reputation: 447
Default Welcome to the Garden State...!!!

Sorry to hear about your plight....unfortunately it is part of the many other reasons why some of us jumped ship in NJ to either PA or other areas.

It is what the system is in NJ...and some of us just got fed up -- but anyways good luck and hope you find a means to get out of this predicament.

===============

Quote:
Originally Posted by va-jc View Post
Just moved here from out of state couple of months ago and are regretting it after tonight. It was my first time ever in traffic court in New Jersey tonight and found out not only how desperate the state is for your money but also how corrupted the traffic system is.

I had a 2-pt ticket 4:81 failure to observe signal. It was a ticket I got because I got lost going through myriad of signs and streets in the city. I took a left turn out of a staight only street and got caught. Normally in another state (in this case, Pennsylvania and Virginia), a court date is a court date. It is the date for you to go before the judge and plead your case. Then he decides whether you are guilty, not guilty, or amend your charges. If they amend your charge, it would be the same fine but with no or reduced points. Not in this state or city. Court date and trial date is two separate animals.

“If you wish to plead not guilty, you must notify the court at the address and phone number as shown below at least 7 days prior to the court date listed on the front of the ticket. If you fail to notify the court, it may be necessary to make additional court appearances.”

Apparently, this statement on the ticket doesn’t count. I had notified the court on the phone and by mail at least 2 weeks before the court date and received a court date. So I expect to make it for one day and be done with. But that is not the case, court date in my case is for me to:

1. Plead guilty. Pay the fine and court fee.
2. Plead not guilty. Get a trial date set up.
3. Talk to the prosecutor and get it amended.

With exception of the first one, there are major problems with 2 and 3. And why would anyone come to court to plead guilty anyway if the Judge is not hearing your case?

As for number 2, I have already called in and wrote in to get the court date, why shouldn’t the police officer who wrote the ticket show up on the court date. So it is ok for the system to inconvenience the citizens, but not ask the officers to do the job that they are charged to do? If I do decide to plead not guilty, this is where the system start to look and sound corrupted. I had the prosecutor tell me that if I plead not guilty, went to trial, and lost, my fine will be bigger with the extra fine used to pay the officer’s time in court. What??!!! I would gladly pay a court fee for the judge’s and court’s time even if it is $100 or $200, but paying the opposing witness to testify against me? Are they on crack? Is this China or Cuba or North Korea?

For number 3, it showed the state is hungry for your money and will get it using any means possible. The amendment that everyone with 2 points received on the date was: Unsafe Driving, no points, $150 fine, $250 surcharge, and $39 court fee for $439 total. So it was either $85 plus $39 for guilty and 2 points or $439 with no points. Wow. It was $265 to trade for 2 points. It is almost extortion in my opinion. The statement is telling the citizens, “If you have money, it is ok. If not, you are so out of luck.” I continued to pressure the prosecutor after the initial offer and see if I can get it amended to another charge but failed in vain. As the time passed, I saw several attorneys that were able to get the same prosecutor to amend the 2 pt tickets to become a $45 no point ticket plus court fee. Talk about the double standard in the system. Citizens, bad deal. Attorneys, good deal. They did all this in front of our eye as if we are blind. I end up hiring an attorney right on the spot for couple of hundred and saved $150 over the recommended offer from the prosecutor. What a way to transfer wealth from the state government to attorneys. My final cost is $45 plus court fee for a total of $85 with no points on 4:145, failure to yield. I got out of the court in less than 5 minutes after I hired the attorney as anyone with an attorney goes first before anyone in the line. No wonder they say New Jersey is the most corrupt state in the entire US with two third of the citizens upset over the political system.

For anyone that says maybe I should’ve try and not get this ticket in the first place. I agree, but everyone make some sort of mistake once in awhile. Many of the people that I talked to in the court were first time offender in the state if not in the entire nation. Mistake happens, but it shouldn’t become a weapon for the government to extract as much money out of you as possible.
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow
625 posts, read 3,261,879 times
Reputation: 439
As a 27 year old I found out that some insurance companies do charge you when you get a ticket. Case and Point I had to renew my insurance with Geico a few months ago. I was paying almost $1600 per 6 months for myself and I was paying my moms premium as well. I had just switched banks and had a problem with my automated payment to Geico and they wound up cancelling my insurance. I called within 24 hours to make payment and they wanted me to pay at a new rate of $6000 per year because according to them I pled guilty to two traffic tickets (neither were for speeding and no points). I said how did I plead guilty??? I never went to court. She simply said.. "You paid the ticket therefore you pled guilty". Needless to say I switched companies and I am now paying $1600 per year. Auto Insurance in this state is a shame!!! Too many people are driving without it so those who do pay are bearing the brunt!!!
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Atlantic Highlands NJ/Ponte Vedra FL/NYC
2,689 posts, read 2,846,212 times
Reputation: 328
Quote:
Originally Posted by neekah18 View Post
As a 27 year old I found out that some insurance companies do charge you when you get a ticket. Case and Point I had to renew my insurance with Geico a few months ago. I was paying almost $1600 per 6 months for myself and I was paying my moms premium as well. I had just switched banks and had a problem with my automated payment to Geico and they wound up cancelling my insurance. I called within 24 hours to make payment and they wanted me to pay at a new rate of $6000 per year because according to them I pled guilty to two traffic tickets (neither were for speeding and no points). I said how did I plead guilty??? I never went to court. She simply said.. "You paid the ticket therefore you pled guilty". Needless to say I switched companies and I am now paying $1600 per year. Auto Insurance in this state is a shame!!! Too many people are driving without it so those who do pay are bearing the brunt!!!
they're not wrong, paying the ticket is pleading guilty
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow
625 posts, read 3,261,879 times
Reputation: 439
Most people pay the ticket because they don't want to miss work in order to go to court and lose the case and on top of that pay court costs!!!
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:19 AM
 
Location: NJ
12,284 posts, read 30,935,086 times
Reputation: 5190
Quote:
Originally Posted by njkate View Post
I feel for you
But have you any idea how much those 2 points would have raised your insurance for 3 years in NJ??
They have in traffic court for sure

i've never had a surcharge - at one time had 4 pts on my license (2*2pt infractions) and a year after they dropped off, had another 2 pointer. my husband was in 2 accidents within 2 yrs (both times stopping short to avoid the person in front of him, 1 time ran into the median the other time rear-ended, one car was totalled) and still no surcharges (fyi, he was not cited in either one).

another reason to get into NJM if you can!
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