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13 N.J.A.R. 977

Motor Vehicles, Division of v. Bigham, Cynthia K
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Citation: 13 N.J.A.R. 977
Decision Date: 1987
Synopsis: Respondent disputed the proposed imposition of an automobile insurance surcharge. The matter was transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law for a hearing. The facts of the case were undisputed. Respondent did not realize her license had expired until she was involved in an accident that was not her fault. She was convicted for driving without a license. Based on that conviction, the Division of Motor Vehicles assessed a surcharge pursuant to the New Jersey Automobile Insurance Reform Act of 1982, N.J.S.A. 17:29A-33 et seq., and regulations at N.J.A.C. 13:19-13.1. Respondent argued that the regulations should not be applied to her because she did not receive a license renewal form. She also argued that applying the regulation based on the facts of the case would be inconsistent with the intention of the statute, which is to penalize drivers for serious or fault-oriented activities. The adminis- trative law judge agreed with respondent's arguments and concluded that no surcharge should be levied. Upon review, this initial decision was rejected by the Director of the Division of Motor Vehicles. Because respondent was convicted of a surchargeable offense, a surcharge should be imposed. The Direc- tor said it was immaterial whether respondent received a renewal notice. In addition, he held that the surcharge attaches automatically upon conviction. The Appellate Division reversed, holding that the statute does not authorize surcharges for offenses that do not pose a direct threat to safety. The Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Division, re- instating the order of the Division of Motor Vehicles. Division of Motor Vehicles, petitioner, appearing pursuant N.J.A.C. 1:1-8.6(a) William J. Bigham, Esq., for respondent (Sterns, Herbert, Weinroth & Petrino, attorneys)
Rule(s) Cited: 13:19-13.1 
Statute(s) Cited: 39:3-10