New Jersey Courts Still Collecting DWI Fee Even After Law Was Overturned

TRENTON – Earlier this year, NJ courts overturned a state law that required towns to use a $25 DWI fine to pay for installing video recording devices in police cars. However, municipal court judges across New Jersey continued to collect the fee as it appeared they didn’t get the memo.

Thousands of drivers convicted of drunk driving are still being fined the $25 special surcharge every month. The DWI fine was tied to the now-defunct law.

The announcement was made by the state Council on Local Mandates which invalidated the surcharge. However, the state appears to be ignoring the mandate, resulting in officials collecting more than a million dollars in money. The collected funds are not being used for their intended purpose.

Assistant Deputy Attorney General Stephan Finkel stated that the police video portion of the law has been ruled as an unfunded mandate. “The surcharge provision, which was a different part of the law intending to fund the purchase of the mobile video recorders, that was not declared to be an unfunded mandate, so it remains on the books and is still being enforced, and it’s providing revenue that municipalities can used to purchase video recorders, even though they’re not mandated to do that anymore,” he said.

However, that is not what the council’s decision says which was taken on 20 April. The Council declared the law as unconstitutional in the six-page decision. The Council’s decision renders the $25 surcharge described as nugatory.