Negotiating a plea agreement with a New Jersey prosecutor is not a simple process. There are many factors that can weigh in such as concerns of victims in serious person-to-person crimes or a DUI charge. Details matter in each criminal case because of the theory that the punishment should fit the crime. Even in cases where evidence is borderline with respect to reasonable doubt, persuading a prosecutor to reduce or drop a charge is difficult at best. And in some cases, a plea bargain cannot be negotiated due to rules that have been put in place by New Jersey state legislators.
Plea bargain restrictions in New Jersey
New Jersey prosecutors are often specifically limited in negotiating plea agreements by established criminal law standards. They typically dismiss or amend one or more charges in exchange for a reasonable plea deal based on the severity of the crime. Judges have final authority upon plea submission and will decide on court acceptance. Judges rarely rule counter to the prosecutor’s recommendation, but it does happen in some cases when no other restrictions apply as in DUI cases.
DUI plea negotiation restrictions
The New Jersey court system is serious about prosecuting DUI cases, and prosecutor inability to negotiate a plea agreement is codified in statute. They cannot reduce any DUI charge as a criminal law standard if there is verifiable evidence of intoxication such as a BAC reading above 0.08%. Drunk driving accident cases are even more restrictive, and especially when the BAC is .15 or above. All prosecutors can do in any case is request the minimum punishment according to established guidelines as opposed to a charge reduction.
The type of case being negotiated makes a major difference in New Jersey criminal courts. It is important for all defendants to understand these restrictions because potential penalties can be enhanced in certain serious situations.