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I've sat in traffic court in the past and I noticed that most defendants simply plead guilty and are assessed the fine. Consequently, I've noticed that some defendants contest the charge and if they are unsuccessful, they are assessed both a fine and court costs, sort of a double whammy for having the audacity to fight the charge.

I've done a little bit of googling, but didn't really find anything that specifies the criteria by which a traffic court can assess court costs. The absence of results makes me think this might not be determined on the state level. Is this instead determined at the municipal level? If so, is there any guiding criteria for it?

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What is the criteria for court costs to be assessed in NJ?

According to the New Jersey Statutes Title 22A. Fees and Costs 22A § 3-4:

The fees provided in the following schedule, and no other charges whatsoever, shall be allowed for court costs in any proceedings of a criminal nature in the municipal courts but no charge shall be made for the services of any salaried police officer of the State, county or municipal police.

For violations of Title 39 of the Revised Statutes, or of traffic ordinances, at the discretion of the court, up to but not exceeding $33.

For all other cases, at the discretion of the court, up to but not exceeding $33.

It then proceeds to schedule the various fees / costs which I have decided against repeating here due to its length.

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    Thanks for tracking this down. This is likely a separate question, but do you know if the assessment of court costs runs afoul of a defendants right to a trial? Apr 18, 2022 at 13:50
  • @Pyrotechnical I don't know the answer, so it's probably worth asking a separate question for others to consider.
    – user35069
    Apr 18, 2022 at 15:46

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