New Courts Rules Released – DWI School Zone Plea Bargains Permitted

This morning, the New Jersey Supreme Court released the amendments to the Rules of Court that will go into effect on September 1, 2007. Among the changes that affect municipal court practitioners is an
amendment to Guideline 4B which regulates plea bargaining. Under the amended Guideline, a prosecutor may engage in a plea agreement that calls for the dismissal of a DWI school zone charge in exchange for a plea of guilty to the companion DWI charge which arises from the same incident. This type of plea agreement is available only in cases where there has not been an accident and where the school property was not in use at the time of the offense.

Among the many changes to the Rules of Court in Part VII are the following:

  • Plea of Guilty by mail in criminal cases now approved in certain instances (Rule 7:6-3(a))
  • The practice of utilizing private prosecutors has been abolished except in cases involving cross-complaints where the trial judge makes a finding that a potential for conflict exists for the regular municipal prosecutor due to the nature of the charges. (Rule 7:8-7)
  • Time for filing a Motion for a New Trial expanded to 20-days. (Rule 7:10-1)
  • A new requirement in post-conviction relief proceedings that the petitioner supply additional documents related to the underlying conviction and be accountable to explain the unavailability of any required documents (Rule 7:10-2(f)(2)(G))
  • Formalizes the procedures to be utilized when filing a petition for relief from an enhanced custodial term based on a prior un-counseled conviction under State v. Laurick, 120 N.J. 1 (1990). (Rule 7:10-2(g)). The Rule sets venue in the municipality where the prior conviction occurred and
    establishes a 5-year statute of limitations for these applications.
  • Amends the procedures for the use of defenses or pleas of guilty by mail in traffic cases. (Rule 7:12-3)
  • Authorizes judges of the municipal court to stay any portion of a sentence imposed pending further action by the municipal court or the filing of an appeal. (Rule 7:13-2).
  • The following is a list of all of the amendments to the Rules of Court and related appendices effective September 1, 2007.

    1:5-6

    5:7-9 (new)

    1:6-3

    5:7-10 (new)

    1:40-4

    5:9A-1

    1:40-12

    5:9A-2

    1:41-1 (new)

    5:9A-3 (new)

    1:41-2 (new)

    5:12-4

    1:41-3 (new)

    5:12-6 (new)

    1:41-4 (new)

    5:22-2

    1:41-5 (new)

    5:24-2

    1:41-6 (new)

    5:25-3

    2:7-2

    7:6-2

    3:4-3

    7:6-3

    3:6-8

    7:8-1

    3:7-3

    7:8-7

    3:13-3

    7:10-1

    3:21-4

    7:10-2

    3:26-1

    7:12-3

    3:26-4

    7:12-4

    3:28

    7:13-2

    4:43-2

    Appendix to Part VII Rules- Guideline 4

    5:1-2

    Appendix IX-A

    5:2-1

    Appendix IX-F

    5:3-4

    Appendix IX-G

    5:4-2

    5:4-4

    Appendix IX-H

    5:5-2

    Appendix XVI, Part 2

    5:5-4

    Appendix XVII, Part 2

    5:5-10 (new)

    Appendix XXIV

    5:6-5

    Appendix XXVI

    5:6-8 (new)

    5:7-4

    5:7-5

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