Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"Drunk Driving Victim's Bill of Rights."

This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Drunk Driving Victim's Bill of Rights."

L. 1985, c. 442, s. 1.

39:4-50.10. "Victim" defined
As used in this act, "victim" means, unless otherwise indicated, a person who suffers personal physical or psychological injury or death or incurs loss of or injury to personal or real property as a result of a motor vehicle accident involving another person's driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohoL. In the event of a death, "victim" means the surviving spouse, a child or the next of kin.

L. 1985, c. 442, s. 2.

39:4-50.11. Victims' rights
Victims shall have the right to:

a. Make statements to law enforcement officers regarding the facts of the motor vehicle accident and to reasonable use of a telephone;

b. Receive medical assistance for injuries resulting from the accident;

c. Contact the investigating officer and see copies of the accident reports and, in the case of a surviving spouse, child or next of kin, the autopsy reports;

d. Be provided by the court adjudicating the offense, upon the request of the victim in writing, with:

(1) Information about their role in the court process;

(2) Timely advance notice of the date, time and place of the defendant's initial appearance before a judicial officer, submission to the court of any plea agreement, the trial and sentencing;

(3) Timely notification of the case disposition, including the trial and sentencing;

(4) Prompt notification of any decision or action in the case which results in the defendant's provisional or final release from custody; and

(5) Information about the status of the case at any time from the commission of the offense to final disposition or release of the defendant;

e. Receive, when requested from any law enforcement agency involved with the offense, assistance in obtaining employer cooperation in minimizing loss of pay and other benefits resulting from their participation in the court process;

f. A secure waiting area, after the motor vehicle accident, during investigations, and prior to a court appearance;

g. Submit to the court adjudicating the offense a written or oral statement to be considered in deciding upon sentencing and probation terms. This statement may include the nature and extent of any physical harm or psychological or emotional harm or trauma suffered by the victim, the extent of any loss of earnings or ability to work suffered by the victim and the effect of the offense upon the victim's family.

When a need is demonstrated, the information in this section shall be provided in the Spanish as well as the English language.

L. 1985, c. 442, s. 3.

39:4-50.12. Consultation with prosecutor
A victim shall be provided with an opportunity to consult with the prosecutor prior to dismissal of the case or the filing of a proposed plea negotiation with the court, if the victim sustained bodily injury or serious bodily injury as defined in N.J.S. 2C:11-1.

Nothing contained herein shall be construed to alter or limit the authority or discretion of the prosecutor to enter into any plea agreement which the prosecutor deems appropriate.

L. 1985, c. 442, s. 4.

39:4-50.13. Tort Claims Act rights
Nothing contained in the act shall mitigate any right which the victim may have pursuant to the "New Jersey Tort Claims Act" (N.J.S. 59:1-1 et seq.).

L. 1985, c. 442, s. 5.