Appendix to Part VII Guidelines for Determination of Consequence of Magnitude (See Rule 7:3-2)

On October 6, 1997, the Supreme Court adopted the Comprehensive Revision of Part VII of the Rules of Court to be effective on February 1, 1998.  R. 7:3-2 of that Comprehensive Revision provides for the assignment of counsel "[i]f the court is satisfied that the defendant is indigent and that the defendant faces a consequence of magnitude or is otherwise constitutionally or by law entitled to counsel...." The Supreme Court directed that guidelines for the determination of a consequence of magnitude be developed by the Supreme Court Municipal Court Practice Committee to assist municipal court judges in deciding what factors should be considered when determining a consequence of magnitude.

In response to this direction, the Supreme Court Municipal Court Practice Committee developed the following set of guidelines.  The Supreme Court, as recommended by the Committee, has included the guidelines as an Appendix to the Part VII Rules.
In determining if an offense constitutes a consequence of magnitude in terms of municipal court sentencing, the judge should consider the following:

  • (1) Any sentence of imprisonment;

  • (2) Any period of (a) driver's license suspension, (b) suspension of the defendant's non-resident reciprocity privileges or (c) driver's license ineligibility; or

  • (3) Any monetary sanction imposed by the court of $800 or greater in the aggregate, except for any public defender application fee or any costs imposed by the court.  A monetary sanction is defined as the aggregate of any type of court imposed financial obligation, including fines, restitution, penalties and/or assessments.

It should be noted that if a defendant is alleged to have a mental disease or defect, and the judge, after examination of the defendant on the record, agrees that the defendant may have a mental disease or defect, the judge shall appoint the municipal public defender to represent that defendant, if indigent, regardless of whether the defendant is facing a consequence of magnitude, if convicted.

Note: Guidelines adopted July 28, 2004 to be effective September 1, 2004; amended July 22, 2014 to be effective September 1, 2014.
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