Earlier this week, I represented a client in Hamilton Township, Atlantic County, New Jersey for an NJ speeding ticket (39:4-98). After our Municipal Court appearance, my client was not a happy camper. This was not because of my legal work, it was because of the outrageous sentence that she received from her speeding ticket.
My client was caught speeding on the Atlantic City Expressway back in early July of 2007 by a NJ State Trooper. My client was pulled over early in the morning on a bright and sunny day with very little surrounding traffic. The NJ State Trooper claimed that he clocked her at 106 in a 65, clearly above the speed limit.
Unfortunately, my client was caught speeding in Hamilton Township where plea agreements are not permitted by the court. In every other Municipal Court in the State of New Jersey, speeding tickets are plea bargained. Not in Hamilton.
My client was given no break at all. Although the prosecutor was reasonable, the court was not. My client was sentenced to over a $400 fine, license suspension of 15 days forcing a $100 restoration fee, and 6, yes 6, days in jail.
The policy of the court in Hamilton is that every mile per hour over 100, you go to jail for a day. Unfortunately, this sentence is permitted under NJ motor vehicle law. Jail time for speeding tickets is usually only reserved for a deadly or serious accident from a speeder.
My client was particularly upset because the defendant that appeared before the court, just before our appearance, was charged with and plead guilty to an NJ DWI. This defendant was not given any jail time. So, this NJ DWI defendant who according to NJ law, was not in control of her mental and physical faculties, and could have killed any number of people, was given no jail time.
My client who was driving admittedly fast, who was in complete control of her vehicle, in no traffic, on a limited access highway, arguably putting no lives in danger gets 6 days in jail. I am not making this up.
It would be a different story if every defendant in Hamilton received strict penalties for every violation of the motor vehicle code. Here we witnessed misapplied justice. What do you think?