Last year I represented a New Jersey man who had been arrested for driving while suspended. He is an independent businessman whose truck was ticketed for overtime parking in Newark several years back. Unbeknownst to him, the person who was supposed to pay the ticket did not do so. As a result of an outrageous law know as the Parking Offenses Adjudication Act (POAA), Newark Municipal Court suspended his driver’s license and issued a warrant for his arrest.
According to computer records, his license was suspended at approximately 1:00 A.M. He did not receive notice of the suspension. Approximately seven hours later, a local policeman ran his license plate in the police computer, and then stopped him for driving with a suspended license.
If only we could detect and catch the terrorists that well!
The officer acted properly. Under New Jersey law, he is allowed to run random checks of license plates through his Mobile Data Terminal. The court acted under authority granted to it under the POAA, which allows a municipal court to suspend the driver’s license of anyone who fails to pay a single parking ticket. This system, which subjects safe New Jersey drivers to higher insurance premiums and substantial fines, must be scrapped.
This method of collecting money for parking fines involves too many resources and achieves nothing for public safety. This system involves court personnel and police officers in suburban and rural towns, and it inconveniences law abiding New Jersey motorists. The fact is that if you receive a parking ticket, you should pay it. However, there are many instances where the car owner never receives the ticket. In addition, larger municipalities are notoriously bad about sending out proper notice when suspending drivers’ licenses under the POAA. Indeed, the State of New Jersey once rescinded thousands of suspensions issued by the City of Newark.
New Jersey needs reform in many areas. The POAA would be a good place to start.