Note To §§1-5
P.L. 1997, CHAPTER 280, approved January 6, 1998
Senate, No. 96 (First Reprint)
An Act concerning collection of certain surcharges, amending and supplementing P.L.1995, c.9 and amending P.L.1983, c.65.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 2 of P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-2) is amended to read as follows:
2. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. The Judiciary routinely enters judgments and court orders setting forth assessments, surcharges, fines and restitution against litigants pursuant to statutory law.
b. The enforcement of court orders is crucial to ensure respect for the rule of law and credibility of the court process.
c. Despite monitoring of judgments and court orders by probation divisions and other segments of the Judiciary responsible for doing so, many orders are not complied with because there is a lack of central coordination, funding, automation, and control.
d. The Judiciary has successfully developed a hearing officer program in child support enforcement and a pilot criminal enforcement court project, which is in the process of being expanded, that have demonstrated significant increases in collections and compliance.
e. The Governor's Management Review Commission has reviewed the collections process in New Jersey and made recommendations supporting the establishment and funding of a Statewide comprehensive enforcement program operated by the Judiciary.
f. Upon passage of this act, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice will establish a Statewide comprehensive enforcement program within the present structure of the Superior Court which will provide for the enforcement of court orders and oversee collection of court-ordered fines, assessments, surcharges and judgments in the
civil, criminal and family divisions, the Tax Court and in certain municipal court matters as provided in section 6 of this act. The comprehensive enforcement program will provide for the collection of certain surcharges administratively imposed by the Division of Motor Vehicles as provided in section 6 of this act. The comprehensive enforcement program will utilize the child support hearing officer model and the pilot project criminal enforcement court model, supported by a Statewide automation system designed to increase collections, compliance and accountability.
(cf: P.L.1995, c.9, s.2)
2. Section 4 of P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-4) is amended to read as follows:
4. a. Subject to the approval of the Director of the Division of Budget and Accounting, the Administrative Office of the Courts is authorized to deduct an amount up to 25% of all moneys collected through the comprehensive enforcement program, except for victim restitution and for [Violent Crimes] Victims of Crime Compensation Board assessments, for deposit in the "Comprehensive Enforcement Program Fund" established pursuant to section 3 of [this act] P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-3) to fund the comprehensive enforcement program, the CAPS computer system, enforced community service, and other programs employed to collect court ordered financial obligations. The Administrative Office of the Courts shall promulgate a schedule for the deduction of collections to be deposited in the "Comprehensive Enforcement Program Fund."
b. [Of the funds deposited in the "Comprehensive Enforcement Program Fund," no more than $550,000.00 annually shall be allocated to fund the comprehensive enforcement program.] (Deleted by amendment, P.L. , c. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill)
(cf: P.L.1995, c.9, s.4)
3. Section 6 of P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-6) is amended to read as follows:
6. a. All matters involving the collection of moneys in the Superior Court and Tax Court which have not been resolved in accordance with an order of the court may be transferred, pursuant to court rule, to the comprehensive enforcement program for such action as may be appropriate.
b. (1) A municipal court may request that all matters which have not been resolved in accordance with an order of that court be transferred to the comprehensive enforcement program for such action as may be appropriate. All moneys collected through the comprehensive enforcement program which result from the enforcing of orders transferred from any municipal court shall be subject to the 25% deduction authorized pursuant to section 4 of this act except for moneys collected in connection with the enforcement of orders related to parking violations.
(2) Nothing contained in this act shall prevent any municipal court from contracting the services of a private collection agency to collect any moneys which have not been remitted in accordance with an order of that court.
c. The Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles may refer matters of surcharges imposed administratively under the New Jersey Merit Rating Plan in accordance with the provisions of section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35) which have not been satisfied to the comprehensive enforcement program in accordance with the procedures established pursuant to section 4 of P.L. , c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill) to be reduced to judgment and for such additional action as may be appropriate. All moneys collected through the comprehensive enforcement program which result from the collection of these surcharge monies shall be subject to the 25% deduction authorized pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-4).
4. (New section) The Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Administrative Office of the Courts shall develop procedures for the referral of uncollected surcharges imposed administratively by the Division of Motor Vehicles under the New Jersey Merit Rating Plan pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35). These procedures shall include, but shall not be limited to, the following:
a. The total dollar amount of uncollected surcharges imposed on a driver and the number of months of delinquency which 1[shall] may1 result in referral pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1995, c.9 (C.2B:19-6) including procedures for installment payments, procedures for negotiating and implementing new schedules for installment payments and surcharges deferred until the end of a policy term of an automobile insurance policy as permitted by section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35);
b. The interval of referral between the Division of Motor Vehicles and the comprehensive enforcement program such as monthly, quarterly or semi-annually and the method of referral such as through the municipal court where the Title 39 violation occurred or directly to the Superior Court;
c. The form of notice to be provided by the Division of Motor Vehicles when a surcharge is imposed indicating that an unpaid surcharge may be referred to the comprehensive enforcement program; and
d. Procedures for payment to the Division of Motor Vehicles of monies collected and the billing and accounting methods to be used.
5. Section 6 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-35) is amended to read as follows:
6. a. A merit rating accident surcharge system for private passenger automobiles may be used in the voluntary market, by the New Jersey Automobile Full Insurance Underwriting Association created pursuant to section 16 of P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:30E-4), by the Market Transition Facility created pursuant to section 88 of P.L.1990, c.8 (C.17:33B-11), and by any insurance plan established to provide private passenger automobile insurance pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1970, c.215 (C.17:29D-1). No surcharges shall be imposed on or after the operative date of this act, unless there is an at-fault accident within a three-year period immediately preceding the effective date of coverage which results in payment by the insurer of at least a $300.00 claim. All moneys collected under this subsection shall be retained by the insurer assessing the surcharge. Accident surcharges shall be imposed for a three-year period and shall, for each filer, be uniform on a Statewide basis without regard to classification or territory.
b. There is created a New Jersey Merit Rating Plan which shall apply to all drivers and shall include, but not be limited to, the following provisions:
(1) (a) Plan surcharges shall be levied, beginning on or after January 1, 1984, by the Division of Motor Vehicles on any driver who has accumulated, within the immediately preceding three-year period, beginning on or after February 10, 1983, six or more motor vehicle points, as provided in Title 39 of the Revised Statutes, exclusive of any points for convictions for which surcharges are levied under paragraph (2) of this subsection; except that the allowance for a reduction of points in Title 39 of the Revised Statutes shall not apply for the purpose of determining surcharges under this paragraph. Surcharges shall be levied for each year in which the driver possesses six or more points. Surcharges assessed pursuant to this paragraph shall be $100.00 for six points, and $25.00 for each additional point.
(b) (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1984, c.1.)
(2) Plan surcharges shall be levied for convictions (a) under R.S.39:4-50 for violations occurring on or after February 10, 1983, and (b) under section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a), or for offenses committed in other jurisdictions of a substantially similar nature to those under R.S.39:4-50 or section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a), for violations occurring on or after January 26, 1984. Except as hereinafter provided, surcharges under this paragraph shall be levied annually for a three-year period, and shall be $1,000.00 per year for each of the first two convictions, for a total surcharge of $3,000 for each conviction, and $1,500.00 per year for the third conviction occurring within a three-year period, for a total surcharge of $4,500 for the third conviction. If a driver is convicted under both R.S.39:4-50 and section 2 of P.L.1981, c.512 (C.39:4-50.4a) for offenses arising out of the same incident, the driver shall be assessed only one surcharge for the two offenses.
If, upon written notification from the Division of Motor Vehicles, mailed to the last address of record with the division, a driver fails to pay a surcharge levied under this subsection, the license of the driver shall be suspended forthwith until the surcharge is paid to the Division of Motor Vehicles; except that the Division of Motor Vehicles may authorize payment of the surcharge on an installment basis over a period not to exceed 12 months. If a driver fails to pay the surcharge or any installments on the surcharge, the total surcharge shall become due immediately.
The director may authorize any person to pay the surcharge levied under this section by use of a credit card, and the director is authorized to require the person to pay all costs incurred by the division in connection with the acceptance of the credit card.
In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the director is authorized to utilize the provisions of the SOIL (Setoff of Individual Liability) program established pursuant to P.L.1981, c.239 (C.54A:9-8.1 et seq.) to collect any surcharge levied under this section that is unpaid on or after the effective date of this act. As an additional remedy, the director may issue a certificate to the Clerk of the Superior Court stating that the person identified in the certificate is indebted under this surcharge law in such amount as shall be stated in the certificate. The certificate shall reference the statute under which the indebtedness arises. Thereupon the clerk to whom such certificate shall have been issued shall immediately enter upon the record of docketed judgments the name of such person as debtor; the State as creditor; the address of such person, if shown in the certificate; the amount of the debt so certified; a reference to the statute under which the surcharge is assessed, and the date of making such entries. The docketing of the entries shall have the same force and effect as a civil judgment docketed in the Superior Court, and the director shall have all the remedies and may take all of the proceedings for the collection thereof which may be had or taken upon the recovery of a judgment in an action, but without prejudice to any right of appeal. Upon entry by the clerk of the certificate in the record of docketed judgments in accordance with this provision, interest in the amount specified by the court rules for post-judgment interest shall accrue from the date of the docketing of the certificate, however payment of the interest may be waived by the director. In the event that the surcharge remains unpaid following the issuance of the certificate of debt and the director takes any further collection action including referral of the matter to the Attorney General or his designee, the fee imposed, in lieu of the actual cost of collection, may be 20 percent of the surcharge or $200, whichever is greater. The director shall provide written notification to a driver of the proposed filing of the certificate of debt 10 days prior to the proposed filing; such notice shall be mailed to the driver's last address of record with the division.
All moneys collectible under this subsection b. shall be billed and collected by the Division of Motor Vehicles except as provided in P.L. c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as this bill) for the collection of unpaid surcharges. Of the moneys collected: 10%, or the actual cost of administering the collection of the surcharge, whichever is less, shall be retained by the Division of Motor Vehicles until August 31, 1996; five percent, or the actual cost of administering the cancellation notification system established pursuant to section 50 of P.L.1990, c.8 (C.17:33B-41), whichever is less, shall be retained by the Division of Motor Vehicles until August 31, 1996; and prior to October 1, 1991, the remainder shall be remitted to the New Jersey Automobile Full Insurance Underwriting Association and on or after October 1, 1991 until August 31, 1996, the remainder shall be remitted to the New Jersey Automobile Insurance Guaranty Fund created pursuant to section 23 of P.L.1990, c.8 (C.17:33B-5). Commencing on September 1, 1996, or such earlier time as the Commissioner of Insurance shall certify to the State Treasurer that amounts on deposit in the New Jersey Automobile Insurance Guaranty Fund are sufficient to satisfy the current and anticipated financial obligations of the New Jersey Automobile Full Insurance Underwriting Association, all plan surcharges collected by the Division of Motor Vehicles under this subsection b. shall be remitted to the Division of Motor Vehicles Surcharge Fund for transfer to the Market Transition Facility Revenue Fund, as provided in section 12 of P.L.1994, c.57 (C.34:1B-21.12), for the purposes of section 4 of P.L.1994, c.57 (C.34:1B-21.4) until such a time as all the Market Transition Facility bonds, notes and obligations issued pursuant to that section 4 of that act and the costs thereof are discharged and no longer outstanding. From the date of certification by the Commissioner of Insurance that the moneys collectible under this subsection are no longer needed to fund the association or at such a time as all Market Transition Facility bonds, notes and obligations issued pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1994, c.57 (C.34:1B-21.4) and the costs thereof are discharged and no longer outstanding moneys collectible under this subsection shall, subject to appropriation, be remitted to the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association created pursuant to section 6 of P.L.1974, c.17 (C.17:30A-6) to be used for payment of any loans made by that association to the New Jersey Automobile Insurance Guaranty Fund pursuant to paragraph (10) of subsection a. of section 8 of P.L.1974, c.17 (C.17:30A-8); provided that all such payments shall be subject to and dependent upon appropriation by the State Legislature.
(3) In addition to any other authority provided in P.L.1983, c.65 (C.17:29A-33 et al.), the commissioner, after consultation with the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles, is specifically authorized (a) (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1994, c.64), (b) to impose, in accordance with paragraph (1)(a) of this subsection, surcharges for motor vehicle violations or convictions for which motor vehicle points are not assessed under Title 39 of the Revised Statutes, or (c) to reduce the number of points for which surcharges may be assessed below the level provided in paragraph (1)(a) of this subsection, except that the dollar amount of all surcharges levied under the New Jersey Merit Rating Plan shall be uniform on a Statewide basis for each filer, without regard to classification or territory. Surcharges adopted by the commissioner on or after January 1, 1984 for motor vehicle violations or convictions for which motor vehicle points are not assessable under Title 39 of the Revised Statutes shall not be retroactively applied but shall take effect on the date of the New Jersey Register in which notice of adoption appears or the effective date set forth in that notice, whichever is later.
c. No motor vehicle violation surcharges shall be levied on an automobile insurance policy issued or renewed on or after January 1, 1984, except in accordance with the New Jersey Merit Rating Plan, and all surcharges levied thereunder shall be assessed, collected and distributed in accordance with subsection b. of this section.
d. (Deleted by amendment, P.L.1990, c.8.)
e. The Commissioner of Insurance and the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles as may be appropriate, shall adopt any rules and regulations necessary or appropriate to effectuate the purposes of this section.
(cf: P.L.1994, c.64, s.1)
6. This act shall take effect on the 90th day after enactment except for section 4 which shall take effect immediately.
Includes certain surcharges imposed by DMV in matters handled by court enforcement program.