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Rule 7:8-9. Failure to Appear

Court Rule Prescribing Consequences for Failure to Appear 

Some individuals consulting our site may be interested in reviewing the New Jersey Court Rule governing what happens when there is a Failure to Appear at a court proceeding by a criminal defendant. This rule provides as follows:

7: 8- 9. Procedures on Failure to Appear

(a) Warrant or Notice
(1) Non-Parking Motor Vehicle Cases
If a defendant in any non-parking case before the court fails to appear or answer a complaint, the court may either issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest in accordance with R. 7:2-2(c) or issue and mail a failure to appear notice to the defendant on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. If a failure to appear notice is mailed to the defendant and the defendant fails to comply with its provisions, a warrant may be issued in accordance with R. 7:2-2(c). (2) Parking Cases
In all parking cases, an arrest warrant shall only be issued if the defendant has failed to respond to two or more pending parking tickets within the jurisdiction. A warrant shall not issue when the pending tickets have been issued on the same day or otherwise within the same 24-hour period.
(b) Driving Privileges; Report to Division of Motor Vehicles
(1) Non-Parking Motor Vehicle Cases
If the court has not issued an arrest warrant upon the failure of the defendant to comply with the court's failure to appear notice, the court shall report the failure to appear or answer to the Division of Motor Vehicles on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts within 30 days of the defendant's failure to appear or answer. The court shall then mark the case as closed on its records, subject to being reopened pursuant to subparagraph (e) of this rule. If the court elects, however, to issue an arrest warrant, it may simultaneously report the failure to appear or answer to the Division of Motor Vehicles on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. If the court does not simultaneously notify the Division of Motor Vehicles and the warrant has not been executed within 30 days, the court shall report the failure to appear or answer to the Division of Motor Vehicles on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. Upon the notification to the Division of Motor Vehicles, the court shall then mark the case as closed on its records subject to being reopened pursuant to subparagraph (e) of this rule. (2) All Other Cases
In all other cases, whether or not an arrest warrant is issued, the court may order the suspension of the defendant's driving privileges or of defendant's nonresident reciprocity privileges or prohibit the person from receiving or obtaining driving privileges until the pending matter is adjudicated or otherwise disposed of. The court shall then mark the case as closed on its records, subject to being reopened pursuant to subparagraph (e) of this rule.
(c) Unexecuted Arrest Warrant
If an arrest warrant is not executed, it shall remain open and active until the court either recalls, withdraws or discharges it. If bail has been posted after the issuance of the arrest warrant and the defendant fails to appear or answer, the court may declare a forfeiture of the bail, report a motor vehicle bail forfeiture to the Division of Motor Vehicles and mark the case as closed on its records subject to being reopened pursuant to subparagraph (e) of this rule. The court may set aside any bail forfeiture in the interest of justice.
(d) Parking Cases; Unserved Notice
In parking cases, no arrest warrant may be issued if the initial failure to appear notice is returned to the court by the Postal Service marked to indicate that the defendant cannot be located. The court then may order a suspension of the registration of the motor vehicle or of the defendant's driving privileges or defendant's nonresident reciprocity privileges or prohibit the person from receiving or obtaining driving privileges until the pending matter is adjudicated or otherwise disposed of. The court shall forward the order to suspend to the Motor Vehicle Commission on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. The court shall then mark the case as closed on its records, subject to being reopened pursuant to subparagraph (e) of this rule.
(e) Reopening
A case marked closed shall be reopened upon the request of the defendant, the prosecuting attorney or on the court's own motion.
(f) Dismissal of Parking Tickets
In any parking case, if the municipal court fails, within three years of the date of the violation, to either issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest or to order a suspension of the registration of the vehicle or the defendant's driving privileges or the defendant's non-resident reciprocity privileges or prohibit the person from receiving or obtaining driving privileges, the matter shall be dismissed and shall not be reopened.

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