Asked over 2 years ago - Clark, NJFlag
I am from MA and got a speeding ticket on the Garden State parkway which was a 5pt violation.
I got a traffic atty who reduced it to a 2pt ticket and a fine. If I was to appeal it and take it to court.. what would happen if the officer didnt show up? Would the reduced judgement revert back to the original violation? Where do I go from here.
I hesistate to go back to the lawyer that represented me because I think they should have got the 0 points and maybe a fine instead of 2pts.
You have 20 days from the date of the NJ Municipal Court's decision to file an appeal in the NJ Superior Court. The process is a bit tricky and an appeals attorney should be retained.
The NJ 0 points downgrade for speeding offenses is typically N.J.S.A. 39:4-97.2, Unsafe Operation. This offense carries with it a $250 surcharge as part of its sentence. The MA DMV, however, may not recogbize this downgrade as 0 points in MA. Therefore, your attorney may have resolved this matter in the best way possible for you to avoid a higher fine in NJ and the uncertainty of the MA DMV's interpretation of NJ's 0 points statute.
You are not clear if you're appealing the sentence or wish to vacate your guilty plea.
You have 5 years to vacate your NJ Municipal Court guilty plea via a post-conviction relief [PCR] application. If your PCR application is granted, then the matter will be returned to its pre-plea posture.
If you entered a guilty plea to the 2 point violation you will most likely have to make a motion to withdraw the guilty plea. To do so you would need to make a showing that it would be a manifest injustice to enforce the plea. The Judge will likely require you to point to specific facts/evidence consistent with absolute innocence in support of this motion.
The previous attorney is also correct, a motion for post-conviction relief may also be appropriate. This type of motion is almost always based upon a claim of "ineffective assistance of counsel", meaning your prior attorney failed to do something he absolutely should have done. To be honest, in the case of a traffic ticket, this would be a difficult burden to meet. The municipal judge is likely to believe that the decision to plead guilty to a 2 point ticket instead of 5 was a tactical decision, thus almost immune from a finding of "ineffective assistance of counsel"
I don't mean to discourage you from seeking justice in the municipal court in any way, to the contrary I feel that injustices occur every day. If you feel strongly, I would recommend speaking with an experienced criminal/municipal court attorney to resolve this matter.
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