If you’ve been pulled over in New Jersey, you have no doubt heard the familiar phrase “license and registration, please.” Unfortunately for many drivers, forgetting to place a copy of the vehicle registration in the glovebox can be a costly mistake. It is one thing to drive an unregistered vehicle. It is another to get stuck with a fine and the inconvenience of traffic court– even though your car is properly registered.
However, there could be good news on the horizon for New Jersey drivers. Legislation currently traveling through both houses of the state legislature seeks to allow motorists to provide an electronic copy of the motor vehicle registration. This bill could dramatically reduce the amount of citations for the failure to possess a hard copy.
The cost of driving without your registration
Driving without a copy of your registration in your vehicle is not a criminal offense. Commonly known as “failure to possess,” it is considered a violation instead of a felony or misdemeanor. It will not result in a jail sentence or other extreme penalties. However, it can lead to a fine of $180.
The future of electronic proof of registration in New Jersey
Legislation to allow for the electronic display of proof of registration was first proposed in 2019. After nearly two years of debate, the Assembly Committee approved it in March of 2021. This vote cleared the way for the full Assembly to vote on it. In the Senate, a companion bill has already been approved. Once both bodies pass the bill, all that is left is the governor’s signature to enact it into law.
The proposed legislation also addresses privacy concerns for drivers and their devices. According to the proposed statute, displaying a copy of the vehicle registration on their smartphone does not mean a driver has given permission to law enforcement to search the phone or access any other content on the device. However, the statute also provides immunity for liability to a police officer or a judge if they damage a motorist’s phone when reviewing the electronic registration.
The value of easy access to proof of your registration
Having access to your vehicle registration on your mobile device would be helpful following an accident. In some cases, you might not have access to your car following a crash. This might be true if you were injured and required medical care, or if your vehicle was damaged so severely that you can’t retrieve it from the glovebox.
Contact us for a free consultation
If you have suffered injuries, a car accident lawyer can help you pursue the monetary compensation you need to rebuild your life. Reach out to Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. right away. Since we work on a contingency-fee-basis, there are no upfront legal costs.