New Jersey’s Traffic Violation Point System

How New Jersey’s demerit point system works and the consequences of building up too many points.

In addition to fines and fees, a New Jersey traffic ticket will often result in the assessment of demerit points. All moving violation convictions are reported to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC), which will assess points depending on the severity of the offense. Too many points can result in surcharges, license suspension, and other penalties.

Points Values for Traffic Violations

Here are the point values for some of the more common traffic violations.

Violation

Points Assessed

Driving wrong way

2

Improper passing

4

Failure to yield to pedestrian

2

Diving through safety zone

2

Racing

5

Failure to yield on on-ramp

2

Driving on sidewalk

2

Failure to obey traffic signals

2

Improper passing on right

4

Passing in no-pass zone

4

Tailgating

5

Failure to yield to emergency vehicles

2

Reckless driving

5

Careless driving

2

Impeding traffic

2

Third-offense driving in unsafe manner

4

Third-offense use of cellphone while driving

3

Speeding 1 to 14 miles per hour over limit

2

Speeding 15 to 29 miles per hour over limit

4

Speeding 30 or more miles per hour over limit

5

Improper turn at traffic light

3

Failure to signal

2

Improper passing of school bus

5

Improper passing of ice cream truck

4

Leaving the scene of accident

2

Leaving the scene of injury accident

8

Out-of-state moving violation

2

Other moving violations

2

Consequences of Accumulating Points

Warning. A driver who accumulates six points will receive a notice indicating the driver’s current point total and the penalties associated with additional points. A driver with a probationary license will receive a warning after any points are assessed.

Suspension. The MVC is authorized to suspend the license of any driver who acquires at least 12 points. The length of the suspension depends on the number of points within a certain period of time.

Points acquired over a two-year period will result in the following suspensions:

Points

Suspension duration

12 to 15

30 days

16 to 18

60 days

19 to 21

90 days

22 to 24

120 days

25 to 27

150 days

28 or more

At least 180 days

Points acquired over a period of more than two years will result in the following suspensions:

Points

Suspension duration

12 to 18

30 days

19 to 22

60 days

23 to 26

90 days

27 to 30

120 days

31 to 35

150 days

36 or more

At least 180 days

The MVC is permitted to modify the suspension for “good cause.” In other words, based on the driver’s history and any other relevant factors, the MVC can require completion of a driver improvement program in lieu of part of or the entire suspension period.

Graduated license. Any points assessed against a driver operating with a learner’s permit will result in a 90-day suspension and delay in license advancement. The holder must also take a four-hour driver improvement course. A probationary license holder who is assessed at least two points will be required to complete the four-hour driver improvement course or face license suspension.

Surcharges. In addition to license penalties, the MVC will order an annual surcharge against any driver with at least six points in 36 months. The driver will be charged $150, then an additional $25 for each point above six.

Point Removal

Expiration. All license points expire after three years from the date of the violation. Three points will also be removed for every 12-months the driver is violation-free.

License improvement course. A driver can voluntarily complete a license improvement course to remove three demerit points. However, this option is available only once every two years.

Defensive driving course. A driver can also voluntarily complete a defensive driving course once every five years. Completion of the course will remove two demerit points.

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