On February 23, 2024, the New Jersey Supreme Court settled the ongoing fight with the legislature over the endorsement of a new statute permitting plea bargaining to allow for ignition interlock devices in minor drunk driving cases. Last week, Judge Grant put out an order that no DWIs were allowed to be plea bargained. However, the Supreme Court disagrees.
Judge Rabner said in the order that “because no actual case is before the court, we do not make a finding on that issue. At the same time, we recognize that the amendment reflects a policy statement by the legislature, which is within its prerogative, related to plea bargaining in municipal courts.”
The question remains how will this new plea bargaining rule will be applied within the municipal courts as it is new ground for everyone involved- judges, defense attorneys and prosecuors. At the very least, it should allow attorneys the ability to the fight for their clients and allow the judges and prosecutors to make fair and just decisions in the appropriate situations.