DECALS FOR YOUTHFUL DRIVERS

COURT UPHOLDS LAW REQUIRING DECALS FOR YOUTHFUL DRIVERS

Unless New Jersey lawmakers decide otherwise, drivers under age 21 will continue to have to display little red decals on their license plates if they want to remain street legal. The state Supreme Court on Monday, in Trautmann v. Christie, A-16-11. upheld “Kyleigh’s Law,” finding the decal requirement does not violate the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act or federal and state constitutional guarantees of privacy and equal protection and against illegal searches and seizures.

The law, which took effect May 1, 2010, also sets limits on the number of passengers in youthful drivers’ cars and generally bars such drivers from the road between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Source – NJSBA Daily Briefing

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE

14-2-7046 State v. Barfuss, App. Div. (per curiam) (12 pp.) Defendant appeals from the Law Division order denying his post-sentence motion to vacate his guilty plea to Driving Under the Influence (DUI). defendant contends that he should be allowed to vacate the guilty plea because the factual basis in support of his plea was inadequate to prove that he “operated” the vehicle as required by the DUI statute. The appellate panel agrees and reverses. The record does not contain any evidence that defendant made any “physical movement to put the car in motion” at the time.

Unable to find any New Jersey cases upholding a conviction for DUI for having the keys in one’s pocket and a future intent to drive home without any corroborating physical attempt to move the vehicle, the panel concludes that the facts articulated by defendant did not provide an adequate factual basis for his guilty plea. After balancing the four Slater factors, the panel finds that defendant has met his burden and is entitled to withdraw his guilty plea and have the charges reinstated to correct a manifest injustice.

Source – NJSBA Daily Briefing

CRIMINAL LAW AND PROCEDURE – EXPUNGEMENTS

14-1-6924 In re Kollman, Petition for Expungement, Sup. Ct. (Rabner, C.J.) (32 pp.) Defendants seeking relief under the statute’s new five-year pathway to expungement have the burden of proving why expungement of a criminal record is in the public interest. Because petitioner appears to have met that burden, the court reverses the denial of his expungement application and remands to the trial court to assess the petitioner’s character and conduct as of the date of its new ruling.

Source – NJSBA Daily Briefing