Old Traffic Tickets

Since the NJ Traffic Law Center was started a very popular subject area of questions are how can a person clear up old traffic tickets once he moves out of good old New Jersey. Many people just get very tired of living in New Jersey, and they move to another state in the hope of not having to deal with their bad New Jersey driving record, and not having to pay for their surcharges, and hoping to blow off paying their outstanding traffic and parking tickets.

Initially, the plan may work well. The relocated driver could almost always obtain a driver’s license in the new state without much grief. He may be able to accomplish this task because his New Jersey driver’s license has not been suspended when he applies for the new license in the new state. However, once the new state’s driver’s license has to be renewed then the headaches begin. All of the states have basically created a “Matrix” for monitoring drivers all throughout the United States. This “Matrix” is actually called the National Driver’s Registry. New Jersey will report to the National Driver’s Registry that the driver is suspended in New Jersey. Therefore, once the driver’s new state’s license has to be renewed, the new state will review the National Driver’s Registry and ascertain that the driver’s license is suspended.

No state will renew or grant a driver a new license if he or she is suspended in another state. All of the states respective DMV’s have basically created a “Matrix” and they cooperate to make sure that all driver’s pay all of their fines and penalties in their former state.

To correct this problem, the driver will have to obtain their New Jersey driver’s abstract, and ascertain what are the open violation that they have in New Jersey. After deciphering their abstract, the driver will have to contact the municipal court where the open violations are. Most municipal courts will require that the driver post bail to reactive the case. The driver will be able to have their bail applied to any fines that are eventually levied upon them. Any excess bail will be refunded to the driver. The average bail set for old out of state cases is $500.

After the driver has cleared up the old tickets, then and only then, will NJ MVC remove the suspension form the National Driver’s Registry. After this is accomplished, then the driver can have his new state’s driver’s license approved or renewed.

There is no simple way to clear up old tickets. This situation can really create a mess for many drivers. Beware, most courts impose additional fines for contempt. In some towns they impose a contempt fine of $100 for every year that the ticket was blown off. If a driver has blown off tickets for a decade or more then the contempt fines can be very substantial.


New Jersey belongs to two Interstate Compacts. Member states exchange information to ensure driver compliance with the law and that they receive penalties for violations. The Nonresident Violator Compact assures nonresident motorists in member states that they will receive the same treatment as resident motorists. When drivers receive traffic citations in member states, they must fulfill the terms of that citation or face the possibility of license suspension in their home state until they meet those terms. Nonresident drivers have due process protection and cannot be detained out of state. Currently, 44 states and the District of Columbia are members of the compact. Alaska, California, Michigan, Montana, Oregon and Wisconsin are nonmembers. The compact doesn’t apply to parking or standing violations, highway weight limit violations and violations of Hazmat transportation laws. The National Driver License Compact exchanges violation information with other states and the district. Out-of-state violations become part of your NJ driving record. Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin are exempt states.