In New Jersey DWI cases, in addition to the fines and penalties that are sentenced by the judge in court, drivers convicted of DWI or Refusal must pay additional monetary assessments, or surcharges.
If a driver is convicted of both drunk driving and Refusal resulting from the same arrest, there is only one surcharge.
There are two kinds of surcharges after a DWI and/or a Refusal conviction: one that must be paid to the State of New Jersey, and one that is paid to an insurance company.
The amounts paid to the State of New Jersey are fixed, while the fees paid to the insurance company vary with each company and each driver.
On a first and second offense, in addition to any fines and assessments set forth by the court, a driver convicted of DWI or refusal must pay a total of $3,000.00 to the State over a period of three years -- $1,000.00 a year.
On a third or greater conviction, in addition to any fines and assessments set forth by the court, a driver convicted of DWI or refusal must pay a total of $4,500.00 to the State over a period of three years -- $1,500.00 a year.
This state surcharge requirement applies to all drivers convicted of DWI in New Jersey, including drivers who are licensed or live in another state.
The surcharge requirement does not apply in Refusal cases to out-of-state licensed drivers.
The insurance company surcharge is completely separate from the state surcharge. Insurance company surcharges are based on their own criteria, which include age, gender, level of offense, and other factors. These surcharges can range from $1,000.00 a year for three years, to many thousands of dollars a year for three years.
Some insurance companies will cancel a driver's insurance policy, even where the driver has been a policy holder for many years. This cancellation is discretionary with the insurance company.
Surcharge notices are mailed to the last address on record with the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC). It is important that the convicted driver maintain a current mailing address with the MVC. If the convicted motorist moves, the law requires that you notify the Motor Vehicle Commission within seven days. Changing your address with the U.S. Postal Service does not change it with the MVC. You must contact the MVC directly online, by phone, or at a local MVC office:
MVC telephone: (609)292-6500
On the web: www.dmv.org/nj-new-jersey/change-address.php
Or in person at a local MVC office: dmv.org/nj-new-jersey/dmv-office-finder.php
If the convicted driver moves from New Jersey, or if an out-of-state driver never lived in New Jersey, the driver is responsible for all surcharges assessed to him or her in New Jersey.
Failure to pay surcharges will result in suspension of New Jersey driving privileges.
For out-of-state licensed drivers, failure to pay surcharges will result in suspension of New Jersey driving privileges, and New Jersey will also notify the National Driver Register of the suspension. When the out-of-state driver goes to renew or get a new license in another state, the suspension will be picked up by the state licensing authority, and in all likelihood, the driving privileges will not be renewed until the "hold" on the driving privileges from New Jersey is resolved.
If New Jersey driving privileges are suspended for not making surcharge payments, the MVC will file a judgment against the driver to collect any unpaid assessments.
For billing or surcharge questions, contact the Surcharge Billing Office housed within the Municipal Services Bureau (MSB): 844-424-6829.
Surcharges may be paid in person at a MVC Regional Service Center. See the "Locations" section of www.njmvc.gov for walk-in services.
Payment can also be made by major credit card, cash, check or money order. On the web, go to www.njmvc.gov or www.njsurcharge.com.
Payment can also be made by mail by doing all of the following:
- Send the bottom portion of your notice
- Write your NJ driver license number on your check or money order
- Mail to:
NJ MSB Office
P.O. Box 1502
Moorestown, NJ 08057
For general Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) questions: (609) 292-6500
For License Suspension and Restoration: (609) 292-7500