There has been an increase in non NJ drivers moving to New Jersey but failing to timely register their cars in New Jersey or obtain New Jersey licenses.
The new law extends “touring privileges” to nonresidents who have registered their vehicles in their home state, so that a vehicle would not have to be registered in more than one state at a time. In addition, current law specified that a person who was authorized to drive in this State as a nonresident prior to moving to New Jersey retains this right for 60 days after establishing New Jersey residency. These provisions have been interpreted by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to imply that a new New Jersey resident must register any vehicles he intends to drive on public highways within 60 days of becoming a resident.
This amended law expressly requires new New Jersey residents to register their vehicles within 60 days of becoming a resident of this State. Violations would be punishable by a fine up to $250 for a first offense and up to $500 for a second or subsequent offense. In addition, the vehicle would be impounded for a minimum of 96 hours for third or subsequent offenses. The law also allows impounded vehicles that are not claimed by their owners to be sold at auction, and outlines procedures for such sale. If the identity and address of the owner are known, the proceeds from the sale, less any towing, storage, and other costs, would be forwarded to the owner.
The Legislative committee adopted amendments clarifying that the ability to obtain release of an impounded vehicle is separate from the payment of court fines and fees associated with adjudication, clarifying the disposition of violation monies, requiring that the lienholder, if the lienholder's name and address are known, is to be notified of an impending sale of an impounded vehicle, and making technical changes to the text of the bill.
Under the law, one-half of the fines and penalties imposed and collected for violations would be paid to the chief financial officer of the county and one-half to the chief financial officer of the municipality in which the violation occurred, unless the complaining witness is a State law enforcement officer or other State official in which case the monies would be paid to the State Treasurer.