Well, that’s not a perfectly accurate title, but that’s what everyone wants to do. Read on.
If this information saves you $500, I would appreciate a $5 donation. Don’t send me anything until AFTER you have been to the courthouse and saved money! Here is a Paypal donation link:
I got a “15MPH over the limit”, 4 point speeding ticket in Hackettstown New Jersey in October 2004. The cost of the ticket was about $100. But that’s the cheap part. The insurance rate hike is far more expensive! I called AIG (my new insurance company after they bought my policy from GE, who bought it from Colonial Penn, who bought it from…) and they couldn’t tell me how much my insurance was going go up with this ticket. Grrrr. But I recall that GE told me how much my rates would go up… about $150 per point for 3 years. And I would stop earning my “Merit Discount”. 5 years of me not getting any points earns me an 8% merit discount on my liability ($340/yr) & collision ($400/yr) insurance.
So the total cost of my 4 point ticket is:
$100 = speeding ticket
$300 = $60/year for 5 years, lost merit discount
$1,800 = $150/point * 4 points * 3 years
So here’s how to beat a speeding ticket in New Jersey. I can only tell you about my experience which was in Hackettstown, NJ.
With this strategy, the total cost of my ticket was reduced by more than 80%!
- Get a ticket :-(
- Go to your court date. Bring a checkbook and dress well. If you show up 30 minutes before the court opens, you’ll put your name near the beginning of the sign-in sheet and you’ll get out of court in an hour… Else, you could be there for 1-3 hours.
- On the way in, sign the “I want to talk to the prosecutor” sheet. It will be next to the sign-in sheet.
- Possibly wait a few hours. Read the book you brought and/or people-watch. It’s more interesting than watching people at the DMV!
- When you’re name is called to speak with the prosecutor, tell him that you’d like to pay a surcharge to the court instead of getting points on your license. (If the judge calls you before the prosecutor, tell him that you’re waiting to speak to the prosecutor) I was offered two choices:
- First option: plead guilty, pay the ticket, $30 in court costs and get my ticket reduced to 2 points.
- Second option: plead guilty, pay the ticket, $30 in court costs, a $250 surcharge and get my ticket reduced to 0 points. (Yes, just by showing up at the courthouse, I saved at least $900 in insurance fees!)
- Go before the judge. As long as he doesn’t think you are a menace to society and really deserve the points, he’ll approve of the deal. (at the courthouse, I saw a guy who had been driving for 9 months and was on his second ticket get denied.)
- Sign the check at the cashier’s desk.
I wrote a $380 check that night, avoiding $1,820 in costs over the next 3 years, an 83% savings!
You should also check out another of my blog pages. I saved another $300 by taking an online driving safety course.
How this works:
Recently (no, I don’t know how recently) a law was enacted in NJ allowing courts to charge a (mostly fundraising) surcharge instead of giving points. It puts the money in the states hands instead of the insurance company’s hands.
And now a rant on this subject:
Since this loophole exists, of course I am going to take advantage of it and tell my friends. But the theory behind this surcharge bothers me because it throws off the insurance actuarial tables. It’s probably true that people with many speeding tickets tend to get in more accidents and thereby cost more money to the insurance-paying group. So it is justified that they be charged more. And it’s possible that a person that has to pay $2,000 in order to continue driving will think twice about doing riskier behaviors… thereby keeping everyone safer.
This issue is much like the Canadian prescription drug issue that we’re going through in the U.S. right now. All this talk of legalizing Canadian drugs is just bull-dinky. The reason drugs are cheaper in Canada is because the Canadian government told the drug companies, “if you want to do business here, you -must- lower your prices.” We could do exactly the same thing in the U.S. The counter argument is that the more regulation in the pharmaceutical industry, the less innovation in new drugs there will likely be. And if you’re wondering where I see the connection, it’s that both the NJ surcharge system and the buying drugs from Canada short-circuits the free-market system.
I have closed comments on this post. If you have something to say about your situation, read ALL of the comments below first. Read them all the way to the end and you’ll know what to do. DO NOT EMAIL ME questions.