RULE 7:2. Process

7:2-1. Contents of Complaint, Arrest Warrant and Summons

  • (a) Complaint: General. The complaint shall be a written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged made on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. Except as otherwise provided by paragraphs (f) (Traffic Offenses), (g) (Special Form of Complaint and Summons), and (h) (Use of Special Form of Complaint and Summons in Penalty Enforcement Proceedings), the complaining witness shall attest to the facts contained in the complaint by signing a certification or signing an oath before a judge or other person so authorized by N.J.S.A. 2B:12-21.

    If the complaining witness is a law enforcement officer, the complaint may be signed by an electronic entry secured by a Personal Identification Number (hereinafter referred to as an electronic signature) on the certification, which shall be equivalent to and have the same force and effect as an original signature.

  • (b) Acceptance of Complaint. The municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator shall accept for filing every complaint made by any person.

  • (c) Summons: General. The summons shall be on a Complaint-Summons form (CDR-1) or other form prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts and shall be signed by the officer issuing it. An electronic signature of any law enforcement officer or any other person authorized by law to issue a Complaint-Summons shall be equivalent to and have the same force and effect as an original signature. The summons shall be directed to the defendant named in the complaint, shall require defendant's appearance at a stated time and place before the court in which the complaint is made, and shall inform defendant that an arrest warrant may be issued for a failure to appear.

  • (d) Arrest Warrant: General. he arrest warrant shall be made on a Complaint-Warrant form (CDR-2) or other form prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts and shall be signed by the judge or, when authorized by the judge, by the municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator after a determination of probable cause. An electronic signature by the judge, authorized municipal court administrator, or deputy court administrator shall be equivalent to and have the same force and effect as an original signature. The warrant shall contain the defendant's name or, if unknown, any name or description that identifies the defendant with reasonable certainty. It shall be directed to any officer authorized to execute it and shall order that the defendant be arrested and brought before the court issuing the warrant. The judicial officer issuing a warrant may specify therein the amount and conditions of bail, consistent with R. 7:4, required for defendant's release.

  • (e) Arrest Warrant by Electronic Communication. A judge may issue an arrest warrant upon sworn oral testimony of a law enforcement applicant who is not physically present. Such sworn oral testimony may be communicated by the applicant to the judge by telephone, radio, or other means of electronic communication.

    The judge shall administer the oath to the applicant. Subsequent to taking the oath, the applicant must identify himself or herself and read verbatim the Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) and any supplemental affidavit that establishes probable cause for the issuance of an arrest warrant. If the facts necessary to establish probable cause are contained entirely on the Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) and/or supplemental affidavit, the judge need not make a contemporaneous written or electronic recordation of the facts in support of probable cause. If the law enforcement applicant provides additional sworn oral testimony in support of probable cause, the judge shall contemporaneously record such sworn oral testimony by means of a tape-recording device or stenographic machine, if such are available; otherwise, adequate longhand notes summarizing the contents of the law enforcement applicant's testimony shall be made by the judge. This sworn testimony shall be deemed to be an affidavit or a supplemental affidavit for the purposes of issuance of an arrest warrant.

  • An arrest warrant may issue if the judge is satisfied that probable cause exists for issuing the warrant. Upon approval, the judge shall memorialize the date, time, defendant's name, complaint number, the basis for the probable cause determination, and any other specific terms of the authorization. That memorialization shall be either by means of a tape-recording device, stenographic machine, or by adequate longhand notes. Thereafter, the judge shall direct the applicant to print his or her name, the date and time of the warrant, followed by the phrase "By Officer _________________, per telephonic authorization by________________" on the Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) form. Within 48 hours, the applicant shall deliver to the judge either in person or via facsimile transmission the signed Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) and supporting affidavit. The judge shall verify the accuracy of these documents by affixing his or her signature to the Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2).

  • Procedures authorizing issuance of restraining orders pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.7 (“Drug Offender Restraining Order Act of 1999”) and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-12 (“Nicole’s Law”) by electronic communications are governed by R. 7:4-1(c).

  • (g) Traffic Offenses

    • (1) Form of Complaint and Process. The Administrative Director of the Courts shall prescribe the form of Uniform Traffic Ticket to serve as the complaint, summons or other process to be used for all parking and other traffic offenses. On a complaint and summons for a parking or other non-moving traffic offense, the defendant need not be named. It shall be sufficient to set forth the license plate number of the vehicle, and its owner or operator shall be charged with the violation.

    • (2) Issuance. The complaint may be made and signed by any person, but the summons shall be signed and issued only by a law enforcement officer or other person authorized by law to issue a Complaint-Summons, the municipal court judge, municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator of the court having territorial jurisdiction. An electronic signature of any law enforcement officer or other person authorized by law to issue a Complaint-Summons shall be equivalent to and have the same force and effect as an original signature.

    • (3) Records and Reports. Each court shall be responsible for all Uniform Traffic Tickets printed and distributed to law enforcement officers or others in its territorial jurisdiction, for the proper disposition of Uniform Traffic Tickets, and for the preparation of such records and reports as the Administrative Director of the Courts prescribes. The provisions of this subparagraph shall apply to the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission, the Superintendent of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety, and to the responsible official of any other agency authorized by the Administrative Director of the Courts to print and distribute the Uniform Traffic Ticket to its law enforcement personnel.

  • (g) Special Form of Complaint and Summons. A special form of complaint and summons for any action, as prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts, shall be used in the manner prescribed in place of any other form of complaint and process.

  • (h) Use of Special Form of Complaint and Summons in Penalty Enforcement Proceedings. The Special Form of Complaint and Summons, as prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts, shall be used for all penalty enforcement proceedings in the municipal court, including those that may involve the confiscation and/or forfeiture of chattels. If the Special Form of Complaint and Summons is made by a governmental body or officer, it may be certified or verified on information and belief by any person duly authorized to act on its or the State's behalf.

Note: Source – Paragraph (a): R. (1969) 7:2, 7:3-1, 3:2-1; paragraph (b): R. (1969) 7:2, 7:3-1, 7:6-1, 3:2-2; paragraph (c): R. (1969) 7:2, 7:3-1, 7:6-1, 3:2-3; paragraph (d): R. (1969) 7:6-1; paragraph (e): R. (1969) 4:70-3(a); paragraph (f): new. Adopted October 6, 1997 to be effective February 1, 1998; paragraph (a) caption added, former paragraph (a) amended and redesignated as paragraph (a)(1), former paragraph (b) amended and redesignated as paragraph (a)(2), former paragraph (c) redesignated as paragraph (a)(3), former paragraph (d) redesignated as paragraph (b), former paragraph (e) caption and text amended and redesignated as paragraph (c), and former paragraph (f) redesignated as paragraph (d) July 12, 2002 to be effective September 3, 2002; caption for paragraph (a) deleted, former paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) amended and redesignated as paragraphs (a) and (b), former paragraph (a)(3) redesignated as paragraph (c), new paragraph (d) adopted, former paragraph (b) amended and redesignated as paragraph (e), former paragraph (c) deleted, former paragraph (d) amended and redesignated as paragraph (f), and new paragraph (g) adopted July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004; paragraph (a) amended, new paragraph (b) adopted, former paragraphs (b), (c), (d), and (e) amended and redesignated as paragraphs (c), (d), (e), and (f), former paragraphs (f) and (g) redesignated as paragraphs (g) and (h) July 16, 2009 to be effective September 1, 2009; paragraph (e) caption and text amended July 9, 2013 to be effective September 1, 2013.

7:2-2. Issuance of Arrest Warrant or Summons

  • (a) Authorization for Process.

    • (1) Citizen Complaint. An arrest warrant or a summons on a complaint charging any offense made by a private citizen may be issued only by a judge or, if authorized by the judge, by a municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator of a court with jurisdiction in the municipality where the offense is alleged to have been committed within the statutory time limitation. The arrest warrant or summons may be issued only if it appears to the judicial officer from the complaint, affidavit, certification or testimony that there is probable cause to believe that an offense was committed, the defendant committed it, and an arrest warrant or summons can be issued. The judicial officer's finding of probable cause shall be noted on the face of the summons or warrant and shall be confirmed by the judicial officer's signature issuing the arrest warrant or summons. If, however, the municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator finds that no probable cause exists to issue an arrest warrant or summons, or that the applicable statutory time limitation to issue the arrest warrant or summons has expired, that finding shall be reviewed by the judge. A judge finding no probable cause to believe that an offense occurred or that the statutory time limitation to issue an arrest warrant or summons has expired shall dismiss the complaint.

    • (2) Complaint by Law Enforcement Officer or Other Statutorily Authorized Person. A summons on a complaint made by a law enforcement officer charging any offense may be issued by a law enforcement officer or by any person authorized to do so by statute without a finding by a judicial officer of probable cause for issuance. A law enforcement officer may personally serve the summons on the defendant without making a custodial arrest.

    • (3) Complaint by Code Enforcement Officer. A summons on a complaint made by a Code Enforcement Officer charging any offense within the scope of the Code Enforcement Officer's authority and territorial jurisdiction may be issued without a finding by a judicial officer of probable cause for issuance. A Code Enforcement Officer may personally serve the summons on the defendant. Otherwise, service shall be in accordance with these rules. For purposes of this rule, a "Code Enforcement Officer" is a public employee who is responsible for enforcing the provisions of any state, county or municipal law, ordinance or regulation which the public employee is empowered to enforce.
  • (b) Determination Whether to Issue a Summons or Warrant. A summons rather than an arrest warrant shall issue if the defendant is a corporation, partnership or unincorporated association. If the defendant is an individual, a summons rather than an arrest warrant shall issue unless the judge or duly authorized municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator finds that:

    • (1) the defendant has failed to respond to a summons; or

    • (2) there is reason to believe that the defendant is dangerous to himself or herself, to others, or to property; or

    • (3) there is one or more outstanding arrest warrants for the defendant; or

    • (4) the address of the defendant is not known, and an arrest warrant is necessary to subject the defendant to the jurisdiction of the court; or

    • (5) the defendant cannot be satisfactorily identified; or

    • (6) there is reason to believe that the defendant will not appear in response to a summons.

  • (c) Failure to Appear After Summons. If a defendant who has been served with a summons fails to appear on the return date, an arrest warrant may issue pursuant to law and Rule 7:8-9 (Procedures on Failure to Appear). If a corporation, partnership or unincorporated association has been served with a summons and has failed to appear on the return date, the court shall proceed as if the corporation had appeared and entered a plea of not guilty.

  • (d) Additional Arrest Warrants or Summonses. More than one arrest warrant or summons may issue on the same complaint.

  • (e) Identification Procedures. If a summons has been issued or an arrest warrant executed on a complaint charging either the offense of shoplifting or prostitution or on a complaint charging any non-indictable offense where the identity of the person charged is in question, the defendant shall submit to the identification procedures prescribed by N.J.S.A. 53:1-15. Upon the defendant's refusal to submit to any required identification procedures, the court may issue an arrest warrant.

Note: Source - R. (1969) 7:2, 7:3-1, 3:3-1. Adopted October 6, 1997 to be effective February 1, 1998; paragraphs (b) and (c) amended July 10, 1998 to be effective September 1, 1998; paragraph (a)(1) amended July 5, 2000 to be effective September 5, 2000; paragraph (a)(1) amended, new paragraph (b)(5) added, and former paragraph (b)(5) redesignated as paragraph (b)(6) July 12, 2002 to be effective September 3, 2002; paragraph (a)(1) amended, and paragraph (a)(2) caption and text amended July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004; paragraph (a)(1) amended and new paragraph (a)(3) adopted July 16, 2009 to be effective September 1, 2009.

7:2-3. Arrest Warrant: Execution and Service: Return

  • (a) By Whom Executed; Territorial Limits. An arrest warrant shall be executed by any officer authorized by law. The arrest warrant may be executed at any place within this State. A law enforcement officer arresting a defendant outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court that issued the warrant shall take the defendant, without unnecessary delay, before the nearest committing judge authorized to admit to bail in accordance with R. 7:4-2(a) and any other applicable rule of court.

  • (b) How Executed. The arrest warrant shall be executed by the arrest of the defendant. The law enforcement officer need not possess the warrant at the time of the arrest, but upon request, the officer shall show the warrant or a copy of an Automated Traffic System/Automated Complaint System (ATS/ACS) electronic record evidencing its issuance to the defendant as soon as possible. If the law enforcement officer does not have the actual warrant to show or does not have access to an ATS/ACS printer to produce a copy of the electronic record at the time of the arrest, the officer shall inform the defendant of the offense charged and that an arrest warrant has been issued.

  • (c) Return. The law enforcement officer executing an arrest warrant shall make prompt return of the arrest warrant to the court that issued the warrant. If the arrested defendant is not admitted to bail, the arresting officer shall notify the court issuing the arrest warrant by telephone or other electronic means of communication of the date and time of the arrest and the place of the defendant's incarceration.

Note: Source -- Paragraph (a): R. (1969) 7:2; 7:3-1, 3:3-3(a), (b), (c), (e); Paragraphs (b)(1), (2), (3): R. (1969) 7:3-1: Paragraph (b)(4): R. (1969) 7:2, 7:3-1, 3:3-3(e). Adopted October 6, 1997 to be effective February 1, 1998; caption amended, caption of former paragraph (a) deleted, caption and text of former paragraph (b) deleted and relocated to new Rule 7:2-4, former paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), and (a)(3) redesignated as paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004.

7:2-4. Summons: Execution and Service; Return

  • (a) Summons; Personal Service Under R. 4:4-4 or By Ordinary Mail.

    • (1) The Complaint-Summons shall be served personally in accordance with R. 4:4-4(a), by ordinary mail or by simultaneous mailing in accordance with paragraph (b) of this rule. Service of the Complaint-Summons by ordinary mail may be attempted by the court, by the law enforcement agency that prepared the complaint or by an agency or individual authorized by law to serve process.

    • (2) Service by ordinary mail shall have the same effect as personal service if the defendant contacts the court orally or in writing in response to or in acknowledgment of the service of the Complaint-Summons. Service by ordinary mail shall not be attempted until a court date for the first appearance has been set by the municipal court administrator, deputy court administrator, or other authorized court employee.

    • (3) If the court is provided with a different, updated address for the defendant, along with a postal verification or other proof satisfactory to the court that the defendant receives mail at that address, service of the Complaint-Summons may be re-attempted.

  • (b) Simultaneous Service by Mail.

    • (1) If service is attempted by ordinary mail and the defendant does not appear in court on the first appearance date or does not contact the court orally or in writing by that date, the court subsequently shall send the Complaint-Summons simultaneously by ordinary mail and certified mail with return receipt requested to the defendant's last known mailing address. Service by simultaneous mailing shall not be attempted until a new court date for the first appearance has been set by the municipal court administrator, deputy court administrator, or other authorized court employee.

    • (2) When the Complaint-Summons is addressed and mailed to the defendant at a place of business or employment with postal instructions to deliver to addressee only, service will be deemed effective only if the signature on the return receipt appears to be that of the defendant to whom the Complaint-Summons was mailed.

    • (3) Consistent with due process of law, service by simultaneous mailing, as provided in Section (b)(1) of this rule, shall constitute effective service unless the mail is returned to the court by the postal service marked "Moved, Left No Address", "Attempted - Not Known", "No Such Number", "No Such Street", "Insufficient Address", "Not Deliverable as Addressed--Unable to Forward" or the court has other reason to believe that service was not effected. However, if the certified mail is returned to the court marked "Refused" or "Unclaimed," service is effective providing that the ordinary mail has not been returned.

    • (4) Process served by ordinary or certified mail with return receipt requested may be addressed to a post office box.

  • (c) Notice to Prosecuting Attorney and Complaining Witness; Dismissal of Complaint.

    • (1) If the court has not obtained effective service over the defendant after attempting service by simultaneous mailing under section (b)(1) of this rule, the court shall provide written notice of that fact to the prosecuting attorney and the complaining witness.

    • (2) The case shall be eligible for dismissal unless within 45 days of the receipt of the written notice, the prosecuting attorney or the complaining witness provides the court with a different, updated address for the defendant, along with a postal verification or other proof satisfactory to the court that the defendant receives mail at that address.

    • (3) Notwithstanding the provisions of this rule, nothing shall preclude the prosecuting attorney or other authorized person from attempting service in any lawful manner.

    • (4) If the prosecuting attorney and complaining witness do not respond to the court's written notice within 45 days or if the defendant is not otherwise served, the court may dismiss the case pursuant to R. 7:8-5.

  • (d) Parking Offenses. A copy of the Uniform Traffic Ticket prepared and issued out of the presence of the defendant charging a parking offense may be served by affixing it to the vehicle involved in the violation.

  • (e) Corporations, Partnerships and Unincorporated Associations. A copy of the Uniform Traffic Ticket charging a corporation, partnership or unincorporated association with a violation of a statute or ordinance relating to motor vehicles may be served on the operator of the vehicle.

  • (f) Return. The law enforcement officer serving a summons shall make return of the summons on or before the return date to the court before whom the summons is returnable.

Note: Former Rule 7:2-4 redesignated as Rule 7:2-5 and new Rule 7:2-4 (incorporating portions of former Rule 7:2-3) adopted July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004.

7:2-5. Defective Warrant or Summons; Amendment

No person arrested under a warrant or appearing in response to a summons shall be discharged from custody or dismissed because of any technical insufficiency or irregularity in the warrant or summons, but the warrant or summons may be amended to remedy any such technical defect.

Note: Source - R. (1969) 7:2, 7:3-1, 3:3-4(a). Adopted October 6, 1997 as Rule 7:2-4 to be effective February 1, 1998; redesignated as Rule 7:2-5 July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004.

7:2-6. Fax Transmission of Complaint-Warrants

During off-business hours, a law enforcement officer may submit a Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) and any supporting documentation by facsimile (fax) transmission to the municipal court judge or to the authorized court administrator or deputy court administrator (judicial officer) to obtain a signature if probable cause is found, as follows:

  • (a) A law enforcement officer seeking the issuance of a Complaint-Warrant shall prepare a CDR-2 and contact a judicial officer.

  • (b) The law enforcement officer shall fax the CDR-2 to the judicial officer for a determination of probable cause. The fax machine must be capable of printing on each transmitted document the time and date of the fax transmission.

  • (c) If the judicial officer makes any corrections to the transmitted fax document, the law enforcement officer shall make those corrections on the original document. The officer shall then retransmit the corrected document to the judicial officer for signature.

  • (d) On the next business day, the judicial officer shall conform the original CDR-2 and shall attach the signed fax copy to the original. If the judicial officer who signed the fax copy is the municipal court judge, the original CDR-2 may be signed by the judge or be attested in the judge's name and signed by the municipal court administrator.

Note: Adopted July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004.
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