Question: I was driving a rented car in NJ with my Indian License (NOT IDP) and met an accident (Not Interstate). I got a ticket 39:3-10 which needs court appearance. What are all may be the consequences and penalties? How the insurance company will react? I am working here at NJ with my L1 visa and have been here since last 5 months.
Answer: It would thus appear that you were ticketed for driving without a license, which usually comes with a fine of between $200 to $500 or imprisonment for not more than 60 days and no license to issue for at least 180 days.
I say this is what you were cited for since New Jersey statute 39:3-10 in part states that no person shall drive a motor vehicle on a public highway in this State unless the person is under supervision while participating in a behind-the-wheel driving course or is in possession of a validated permit, or a provisional or basic driver's license issued to him in accordance with state laws.
If you had your Indian License that is valid then it may just mean that you will need to show it to the court to prove you had a valid license at the time of the accident. Normally it would also help if you had an IDP so that your Indian license was translated so that law enforcement officers and court officers will be able to read the translation and see that the driver's license is valid.
According to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) foreign motorists with valid driver licenses from qualifying countries are free to drive personal or rental cars while visiting the United States as a tourist, but are advised to carry an International Driving Permit.
Qualifying countries from United Nations Convention on Road Traffic, Geneva (1949), Convention on the Regulation of Inter-American Motor Vehicle Traffic, Washington, D.C., (1943) and Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (1968). India is part of the International Convention on Road Traffic.
The New Jersey MVC states that it is okay for you to drive in New Jersey with a valid foreign license from India as a tourist. So, before you go to your court date you may want to make certain that you were still legal to drive the rental car with the Indian license since you are working in New Jersey and no longer just a tourist.
Since you are working, the state of New Jersey may require you to obtain a New Jersey driver's license. You will need to contact them to find out for certain.
You can contact the court listed on your citation to find out specific information regarding the penalties and consequences you may receive for being in an accident and cited for this offense. If you are convicted of this offense, then your state car insurance rates may go up depending upon the rating system of your insurance provider.
If your rates do rise, comparison shop and find more affordable rates elsewhere.