Unwavering Advocacy & Personalized Support Schedule a Free Consultation

Not Paying Surcharges?

Drivers failing to pay surcharges are sent a notice indicating when their license will be suspended and another notice confirming suspension for non-payment. Moving out of state or failing to maintain a current address with the MVC does not excuse surcharge debts. After suspension, surcharges and a $100 restoration fee must be paid to restore the license privilege. If the surcharge remains unpaid a Certificate of Debt is filed in Superior Court. The court issues a judgment, which allows the state to collect unpaid surcharges through involuntary means. The judgment amount (surcharge debt) must be paid before personal property can be transferred or sold. Judgments include a collection cost and interest charges calculated on the judgment balance. Unpaid judgments are assigned to collection agencies and law firms. Credit bureaus are made aware of unpaid accounts. If you accumulate too many points against your license or are convicted for particular traffic offenses, you may be required to pay a surcharge in order to keep your license.

For 6 points within 3 years, you’ll have to pay $150, plus $25 for each additional point. For your first DWI, you’ll have to pay $1,000. Worse, those aren’t just one-time charges. You’ll have to pay every year for three years. So, you’ll pay a total of $450 over 3 years for having 6 points. For a DWI, you’ll pay a total of $3,000 over 3 years.

What Happens If You Don’t Pay A Surcharge?

If you don’t pay a surcharge, the New Jersey DMV will suspend your license. In order to get your license reinstated, you’ll have to pay the surcharge and a reinstatement fee of $100. Remember that driving on a suspended license will cost you a surcharge of $250 per year for 3 years, so you can’t just ignore the problem.

How Can We Help?

When you file for bankruptcy, the New Jersey DMV will reinstate your license. You can discharge your surcharge debt through the bankruptcy process under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, so you won’t have to worry about your license getting suspended again for the same charges.

What Fines and Surcharges Can Be Discharged?

Any municipal traffic court fines from speeding, to DUI, to driving without a license can be discharged by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In addition, all DMV surcharges (including the $3,000 surcharge for DUI) can be discharged.

Fines and surcharges are unsecured debts. All unsecured debts can be discharged by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Most unsecured debts can be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, but you may have to pay back a small percentage of the fine or surcharge over a three- to five-year period.

DUI Arrest and Bankruptcy

A drunk driving arrest can put anyone into a deep financial hole. In today’s economy, few people can afford the fines or vehicle surcharges that come with a conviction. Filing bankruptcy can be a way to get a fresh start.

Your Time Is Limited

If you let surcharges go unpaid, the DMV may choose to file a Certificate of Debt in court. The court will issue a formal judgment against you and may allow the DMV to collect from you whether you like it or not. That may mean levying your bank account or garnishing your wages. Filing for bankruptcy will get you the protection of the automatic stay, which will stop wage garnishment and other collection actions for the duration of the bankruptcy, but you won’t be able to get a discharge for surcharge debt if there’s already a judgment against you.

Here is the NJ MVC's Official Policy, Taken from the State's Website:


If you have a surcharge assessment and have filed for bankruptcy, a copy of your bankruptcy petition needs to be forwarded to the Surcharge Administration Office, P.O. Box 136, Trenton, NJ, 08666 or faxed to (609) 633-8273. After the MVC receives the petition, a hold will be placed on your surcharge account and any surcharge suspensions will be satisfied. If an MVC restoration fee is due, you will be responsible for that payment.

Once your bankruptcy case is discharged, the Surcharge Administration has the ability to write-off the entire balance on all pre-petition event violations. However, you will be responsible and billed for all post-petition surchargeable violations. These are violations you incurred after filing for bankruptcy. Please note that only surcharge assessments are dischargeable. Judgments are non-dischargeable. To have the judgments satisfied, you will need to pay them in full, or petition the Superior Court, a year after your discharge, to have the judgments vacated.

If your bankruptcy case is dismissed, you will be responsible and billed for the entire balance of your surcharge account. If you re-file or your case is re-opened, you will need to mail or fax the Surcharge Administration. Please contact the Bankruptcy Unit at (609) 292-7500, extension #5025 for further information.