Sunday, April 12, 2020

Municipal Court Plea by Mail Rules to Remove Undue Hardship Requirement, increases ability for attorney to appear on your behalf effective March 16, 2020

Supreme Court Order - Relaxing Municipal Court Plea by Mail Rules to Remove Undue Hardship Requirement, increases ability for attorney to appear on your behalf effective March 16, 2020 
  Defense by Affidavit or Certification Program - We Go to Court if you don't want to go in Metuchen, Edison, East Brunswick, Woodbridge, North Brunswick, South Brunswick, Milltown
DEFENSE BY AFFIDAVIT OR CERTIFICATION PROGRAM - WE GO TO COURT IF YOU LIVE OUT OF AREA OR CANNOT APPEAR FOR COURT
The SUPREME COURT OF NEW JERSEY Order states in part
In response to the growing public health crisis worldwide and in this state involving the COVID-19 coronavirus, the New Jersey Judiciary is implementing all possible measures to apply social distancing in current court operations consistent with the recommendations of the New Jersey Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control. 
Accordingly, it is ORDERED, pursuant to N.J. Const., Art. VI, sec. 2, par. 3, that effective immediately and until further order, the provisions of Rule 7:6-3 and Rule 7:12-3 of the Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey are supplemented and relaxed so as to remove the "undue hardship" requirement….
Therefore, we can go to court for you while you stay home. 

Our office helps people with traffic/ municipal court tickets. We provide representation on most Central New Jersey traffic cases. Motor vehicle violations and criminal charges can cost you. If you plead guilty by mail for almost all traffic tickets, in addition to fines you will later receive points on your driver’s license. Both the DMV and your car insurance company will impose surcharges and eligibility points for three years.
If you live out of New Jersey or will be traveling outside of New Jersey, contact our Law Office regarding us providing representation under the Defense by Certification Rule.
Under the New Jersey Court Rules, a New Jersey Attorney can negotiate with the Municipal Court Prosecutor to attempt to reduce points, obtain dismissal of some tickets and provide other assistance. By reducing points and penalties you can reduce increases in your car insurance and surcharges.
An accumulation of too many points, or certain moving violations may require you to pay expensive surcharges to the N.J. Division of Motor Vehicles or have your license suspended. Don't give up! We can appear in court for you on most Central New Jersey traffic violations.
The following are tickets we have handled without our clients having to appear because they were not available. Our attorneys can appear on your behalf without you having to go to court on the following matters: 
Violation                      Points 
39:3-20 Operating constructor vehicle in excess of 45 mph 3
 39:4-14.3 Operating motorized bicycle on restricted highway 2
 39:4-14.3d More than 1 person on a motorized bicycle. 2
 39:4-35 Failure to yield to pedestrian in crosswalk. 2
 39:4-36 Failure to yield to pedestrian or passing a vehicle yielding to pedestrian in crosswalk 2
 39:4-41 Driving through safety zone. 2
 39:4-52 Racing on Highway 5
 39:4-55 Improper action or omission on grades and curves 2
 39:4-57 Failure to observe directions of officer. 2
 39:4-66 Failure to stop before crossing sidewalk 2
 39:4-66.1 Failure to yield to pedestrians or vehicles while entering or leaving highway 2
 39:4-66.2 Driving on private property to avoid traffic signal or stop sign 2
 39:4-71 Improper driving on sidewalk 2
 39:4-80 Failure to obey direction of officer 2
 39:4-81 Failure to observe traffic signal 2
 39:4-82 Failure to keep right 2
 39:4-82.1 Improper operating of vehicle on divided highway or divider 2
 39:4-83 Failure to keep right at intersection 2
 39:4-84 Failure to pass right of vehicle proceeding in opposite direction 5
 39:4-85 Improper passing on right or off roadway 4
 39:4-85.1 Wrong way on one-way street 2
 39:4-86 Improper passing, in No Passing zone 4
 39:4-87 Failure to yield to overtake vehicle 2
 39:4-88 Failure to observe traffic lanes 2
 39:4-89 Tailgating 5
 39:4-90 Failure to yield at intersection 2
 39:4-90.1 Failure to use proper entrances to limited access highway 2
 39:4-91, Failure to yield to emergency vehicle 2
 39:4-96 Reckless driving 5
 39:4-97 Careless driving 2
 39:4-97a Destruction of agricultural or recreational property 2
 39:4-97.1 Slow speed blocking traffic 2
 39:4-98 or Speeding up to 14mph above limit 2
 39:4-99 Speeding 15-29 mph above limit 4
 Speeding 30 mph or more above limit 5
 39:4-105 Failure to stop at traffic light 2
 39:4-115 Improper turn at traffic light 3
 39:4-119 Failure to stop at flashing red signal 2
 39:4-122 Failure to stop for police whistle 2
 39:4-123 Improper right or left turn 3
 39:4-124 Improper turn: from approved turning course 3
 39:4-125 Improper u-turn 3
 39:4-126 Failure to give proper signal 2
 39:4-127 Improper backing or turn in street 2
 39:4-127.1 Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing 2
 39:4-127.2 Improper crossing of bridge 2
 39:4-128 Improper crossing of railroad grade crossing by certain vehicles 2
 39:4-128.1 Improper passing of school bus 5
 39:4-128.4 Improper passing of frozen dessert truck 4
 39:4-129 Leaving scene of accident- No injuries 2
 39:4-129 Personal Injury 8
 39:4-144 Failure to observe of stop or yield signs 2
27:23-29 Moving against traffic-NJ Tpke., Garden State Pkwy. 
27:23-29 Improper passing-NJ Tpke., Garden State Pkwy. and 4
 27:23-29 Unlawful use of median strip-NJ Tpke., Garden State Pkwy.   2

Please call us immediately if you need experienced legal representation in a traffic/municipal court matter. Kenneth Vercammen, Esq. Former Prosecutor for the Cranbury Municipal Court from 1991-1999, and Author Municipal Court Winning Strategies.

It is FURTHER ORDERED that defendants completing plea by mail forms currently in use by municipal courts need not complete the sections pertaining to undue hardship and judges should disregard these sections of the forms. 
It is FURTHER ORDERED that all other provisions of Rule 7:6-3 and Rule 7:12-3 regarding pleas by mail in the municipal courts shall remain in effect, including as to the types of cases permitted. 


Upon request, we provide all potential clients with :
1. Our Written Agreement to Provide Municipal Court Legal Services 2. Municipal Court Information Sheet
We request all potential clients fill out the Municipal Court Information Sheet and return to our office immediately. You also need to fax or mail us: 1. Copies of the ticket and any hearing notice. 2. A check or money order. You can also pay by Visa, Master Charge or American Express over the phone and by fax. You should keep the Agreement to Provide Legal Services for your records. Once we receive the fee paid we will prepare a Letter of Representation to the Court, Prosecutor and you. We recommend our clients meet with us once prior to the court date.
After we are retained [paid], we will draft the Defense by Certification for our client. The Certification will need: 1 - Municipal Court Name 2 - Traffic Ticket Summons 3 - Statute 4 - Name of Offense 5 - Defendants Address
In our detailed Court Certification, the client will need to indicate to the court the following: It would be an undue hardship for me to appear in person for trial. I understand my right to a reasonable postponement and waive my right to be present at the trial. I understand that if I plead NOT GUILTY, the judge will hear the testimony of the complainant or other witnesses. If I plead GUILTY, the judge may hear such testimony. I agree to abide by the judgment of the court. I understand that if convicted, for other than a parking offense, a record of same will be sent to the Division of Motor Vehicles, which issued my license.
Our client authorizes us to enter a plea to a lower point violation. Our Law Office will prepare the Defense by Certification and mail it to our client.
Our clients must read the Defense by Certification carefully. If you need to make any changes, make the changes in ink on the form directly. You must immediately sign in front of a notary and return it to our office. If the hearing date is less than 10 days away, we recommend you send the signed Certification by Federal Express or UPS.
CALL THE COURT AFTER THE HEARING DATE
On the day of the court session or next morning, you should call the court directly to determine the specific reduced charge and the total fine and cost. You should also ask the court who your check should be made payable to and the address for mailing. Do not call our office since we do not have complete details on fines and addresses. You must pay the complete fines within 5 days. Fees. Fees can be paid by VISA, Master Card, American Express, check, money order or cash. Make checks payable to Kenneth Vercammen PC.
Representation/ What We will do for you in Defense by Certification Case. We will review and research necessary statutes and caselaw, contact the prosecutor, prepare defenses and determine mitigating factors.
1. Telephone consultation with client; 2. Office consultation with client, if requested; 3. Offer sound legal advice to client, plus access to our legal info website NJLaws.com 4. Preparation of letter of representation to Municipal Court; 5. Preparation of letter of representation to Municipal Court Prosecutor; 6. Preparation of statement to provide legal services; 7. Copies of all correspondence to Court and Prosecutor to client; 8. Opening of file. If client comes to our office, they may have a free client case folder, Municipal Court brochure, DMV points brochure, and Website brochure; 9. Review of necessary statutes and case law; 10. Draft Defense by Certification Pleading 11. Mail or fax Defense by Certification Pleading to client 12. Miscellaneous correspondence, preparation and drafting of pleadings and legal documents in contested serious cases; 13. Review documents supplied by client and court; 14. Travel to Municipal Court; 15. Negotiations with the Prosecutor and Representation in Municipal Court. 16. Preparation of End of Case Letter and client questionnaire. 17. Free Brochures provided on other legal topics such as Workers Comp, Wills, Personal Injury 18. Free subscription to monthly e-mail newsletter. Provide your email address. 19. Follow up telephone advice [If you call, provide the specific questions with the message]. 20. Invitation to client socials/ seminars and Community events via email. 21. Hold and maintain file for seven years in storage as free client service.
Other Legal Services Available. You and the Law Firm may make additional agreements to provide for legal services not covered by the Agreement. Additional services or work must be paid for. Without such agreements, the Law Firm is not required to do any additional work or any of the following: (a) Provide any legal services after the decision of the trial court; (b) Appeal any decisions of the trial court or make additional appearances after appearing in Court; (c) provide other legal services or advice not set forth above; or (d) Represent you in any other court or Tribunal
Your Responsibility- Please read carefully and follow instructions to help us help you
1.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     You must fully cooperate with the Law Firm and provide all information relevant to the issues involved in this matter. This includes providing details on what you told the police and court. 2 You must notify the court and the law office immediately if your address or phone numbers change. 3 Under the NJ Rules of Professional Conduct and Court Rules, we cannot send a letter of representation to the court until the Retainer is paid. All fees and requirements under this written retainer agreement and any other written documents must be complied with. Failure to comply with all requirements shall permit the law office to withdraw its offer of representation. The Law Firm will also withdraw at your request. You must advise our office and the Court in writing. 4 Pay your fines immediately. 5. If you call, you must provide your questions to our receptionist
Source (R. 7:12-3 and R. 7:6-3


7:6-3. Guilty Plea by Mail in Non-Traffic Offenses 
§(a) Entry of Guilty Plea by Mail. In all non-traffic and non-parking offenses, except as limited below, on consideration of a written application, supported by certification, with notice to the complaining witness and prosecutor, and at the time and place scheduled for trial, the judge may permit the defendant to enter a guilty plea by mail if the court is satisfied that a personal appearance by the defendant would constitute an undue hardship such as illness, physical incapacity, substantial distance to travel, or incarceration. The guilty plea by mail form may also include a statement for the court to consider when determining the appropriate sentence. A guilty plea by mail shall not be available for the following: 
·       · (1) cases involving the imposition of a mandatory term of incarceration on conviction, unless defendant is currently incarcerated and the mandatory term of incarceration would be served concurrently and would not extend the period of incarceration; 
·       · (2) cases involving an issue of the identity of the defendant; 
·       · (3) cases involving acts of domestic violence; 
·       · (4) cases where the prosecution intends to seek the imposition of a custodial 
term in the event of a conviction, unless defendant is currently incarcerated and the proposed term of incarceration would not extend the period of incarceration and would be served concurrently; and 
·       · (5) any other case where excusing the defendant's appearance in municipal court would not be in the interest of justice. 
·       · (b) Plea Form-Certification. The Guilty Plea by Mail shall be submitted on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. 
§(c) Judgment. The court shall send the defendant and complaining witness a copy of its decision by ordinary mail. 
Note: Adopted June 15, 2007 to be effective September 1, 2007. 

7:12-3. Pleas of Not Guilty and Pleas of Guilty by Mail in Certain Traffic or Parking 
Offenses
(a) Use of Pleas by Mail; Limitations. Use of Pleas by Mail; Limitations. In all traffic or parking offenses, except as limited below, the judge may permit the defendant to enter a guilty plea by mail, or to plead not guilty by mail and submit a written defense for use at trial, if a personal appearance by the defendant would constitute an undue hardship such as illness, physical incapacity, substantial distance to travel, or incarceration. The Administrative Director of the Courts may designate certain traffic or parking offenses as exempt from the hardship requirement. This procedure shall not be available in the following types of cases: 
(1) traffic offenses or parking offenses that require the imposition of a mandatory loss of driving privileges on conviction; 
(2) traffic offenses or parking offenses involving an accident that resulted in personal injury to anyone other than the defendant; 
(3) traffic offenses or parking offenses that are related to non-traffic matters that are not resolved; 
(4) any other traffic offense or parking offense when excusing the Defendant's appearance in municipal court would not be in the interest of justice. 
(b) Plea of Guilty by Mail. 
(1) In those cases where a defendant may enter a plea of guilty to a traffic offense or parking offense by mail, such plea shall include: 
(A) an acknowledgement that defendant committed the traffic violation or parking offense set forth in the complaint(s); 
(B) a waiver of the defendant's right to contest the case at a trial, the right to appear personally in court and, if unrepresented by an attorney, the right to be represented by an attorney; 
(C) an acknowledgement by the defendant that the plea of guilty is being entered voluntarily; 
(2) A plea of guilty to a traffic offense or parking offense by mail may also include a statement for the court to consider when determining the appropriate sentence. 
(c) Plea of Not Guilty by Mail 
(1) In those cases where a defendant may enter a plea of not guilty to a traffic offense or parking offense and submit any defense to the charge(s) by mail, such not guilty plea and defense shall include the following: 
(A) A waiver of the defendant's right to appear personally in court to contest the charge(s) and, if unrepresented by an attorney, a waiver of the right to be represented by an attorney; 
court to consider; 
(B) Any factual or legal defenses that the defendant would like the 
(2) A defense to a traffic offense or parking offense submitted by mail may also include a statement for the court to consider when deciding on the appropriate sentence in the event of a finding of guilty. 
(d) Forms. Any forms necessary to implement the provisions of this rule shall be approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. 
(e) Judgment. If a defendant elects to enter a plea of guilty or to enter a plea of not guilty under the procedures set forth in this rule, the court shall send the defendant a copy of the judgment by ordinary mail. 
Note: Source - R. (1969) 7:6-6. Adopted October 6, 1997 to be effective February 1, 1998; caption amended, paragraph (a) caption and text amended, former paragraph (b) amended and redesignated as paragraph (c), and new paragraph (b) adopted July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004; caption of rule amended, captions and text of former paragraphs (a) and (b) deleted, former paragraph (c) redesignated as paragraph (e) and amended, and new paragraphs (a), (b), (c), and (d) adopted June 15, 2007 to be effective September 1, 2007; paragraph (a) amended July 16, 2009 to be effective September 1, 2009; paragraph (a) amended July 9, 2013 to be effective September 1, 2013. 


Saturday, March 21, 2020

Repealed 2C :35-16 Driver’s license suspension if pleading guilty to any NJ Drug offense

Repealed 2C :35-16  Driver’s license suspension if pleading guilty to any NJ Drug offense
Forfeiture or postponement of driving privileges. [Unless attorney is successful with hardship motion]
    2C :35-16 . a. In addition to any disposition authorized by this title, the provisions of section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43), or any other statute indicating the dispositions that can be ordered for an adjudication of delinquency, and notwithstanding the provisions of subsection c. of N.J.S.2C:43-2, a person convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for a violation of any offense defined in this chapter or chapter 36 of this title shall forthwith forfeit his right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State for a period to be fixed by the court at not less than six months or more than two years which shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed unless the court finds compelling circumstances warranting an exception. For the purposes of this section, compelling circumstances warranting an exception exist if the forfeiture of the person's right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this State will result in extremehardship and alternative means of transportation are not available. In the case of a person who at the time of the imposition of sentence is less than 17 years of age, the period of any suspension of driving privileges authorized herein, including a suspension of the privilege of operating a motorized bicycle, shall commence on the day the sentence is imposed and shall run for a period as fixed by the court of not less than six months or more than two years after the day the person reaches the age of 17 years.  If the driving privilege of any person is under revocation, suspension, or postponement for a violation of any provision of this title or Title 39 of the Revised Statutes at the time of any conviction or adjudication of delinquency for a violation of any offense defined in this chapter or chapter 36 of this title, any revocation, suspension, or postponement period imposed herein shall commence as of the date of termination of the existing revocation, suspension, or postponement.

   b.   If forfeiture or postponement of driving privileges is ordered by the court pursuant to subsection a. of this section, the court shall collect forthwith the New Jersey driver's license or licenses of the person and forward such license or licenses to the Chief Administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission along with a report indicating the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section.  If the court is for any reason unable to collect the license or licenses of the person, the court shall cause a report of the conviction or adjudication of delinquency to be filed with the Chief Administrator.  That report shall include the complete name, address, date of birth, eye color, and sex of the person and shall indicate the first and last day of the suspension or postponement period imposed by the court pursuant to this section. The court shall inform the person orally and in writing that if the person is convicted of personally operating a motor vehicle during the period of license suspension or postponement imposed pursuant to this section, the person shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties set forth in R.S.39:3-40.  A person shall be required to acknowledge receipt of the written notice in writing.  Failure to receive a written notice or failure to acknowledge in writing the receipt of a written notice shall not be a defense to a subsequent charge of a violation of R.S.39:3-40.  If the person is the holder of a driver's license from another jurisdiction, the court shall not collect the license but shall notify forthwith the Chief Administrator who shall notify the appropriate officials in the licensing jurisdiction. The court shall, however, in accordance with the provisions of this section, revoke the person's non-resident driving privilege in this State.

   c.   In addition to any other condition imposed, a court may in its discretion suspend, revoke or postpone in accordance with the provisions of this section the driving privileges of a person admitted to supervisory treatment under N.J.S.2C:36A-1 or N.J.S.2C:43-12 without a plea of guilty or finding of guilt.

   d.   After sentencing and upon notice to the prosecutor, a person subject to suspension or postponement of driving privileges under this section may seek revocation of the remaining portion of any suspension or postponement based on compelling circumstances warranting an exception that were not raised at the time of sentencing.  The court may revoke the suspension or postponement if it finds compelling circumstances.

   Amended 1988, c.44, s.7; 2005, c.343; 2008, c.84, s.2.

NJSA 2C:35-16 was amended to provide: "compelling circumstances warranting an exception if the forfeiture of the person's right to operate a motor vehicle over the highways of this state will result in extreme hardship and alternative means of transportation are not available.

         In the case of State v. Bendix396 NJ Super. 91 (App. Div 2007), the Appellate Division held the lower court took too restrictive a view of the court's discretion, under N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16a, to grant defendant a hardship exception from the requirement that his driver's license be suspended due to his conviction for drug offenses.