In State v. Parra (App. Div. 2010), the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the dismissal of the Defendant’s Appeal. The Defendant sought to vacate a 1997 guilty plea to DWI in a New Jersey Municipal Court. The Motion was denied in the Municipal Court, and the Defendant appealed. The Superior Court dismissed his appeal (because the appeal was not properly filed). The Defendant appealed to the New Jersey Appellate Division.
The Appellate Division upheld the dismissal of the appeal. The Court noted that the Defendant failed to properly file the appeal (filing the appeal with the “Court Clerk, Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County, Mercer County Civil Courthouse …” (not the Criminal Division Manager’s Office). Further, the Defendant did not file the appeal with the Municipal Court (as required by New Jersey Rules of Court), nor did he serve a copy on the County Prosecutor’s Office (rather he served the Municipal Court Prosecutor). These filing deficiencies were deemed fatal to the appeal pursuant to New Jersey Court Rule 3:23-2, which spell out the filing requirements for a Municipal Court Appeal.
The Court said that the “violations are not mere administrative violations that can be overlooked … they are fatal to defendant’s ability to pursue an appeal in the Law Division.” The Court found that “in every single respect, defendant violated the requirements of the Rule[s].” Thus, the Appellate Division ruled, “the Law Division correctly dismissed the appeal.”
Filing appeals is intricate. If proper procedure is not followed, the appeal is subject to dismissal. This case presents an example of a NJ DWI Appeal that was fumbled, and unfortunately, the Defendant’s Appeal was dismissed. Defendants contemplating filing an appeal in a New Jersey DWI case are cautioned to seek an experienced NJ DWI Lawyer who is familiar with the appellate process. A misstep can result in the dismissal of the appeal and the loss of the right to have a full and proper review.