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State v. Rought

Decided: September 8, 1987.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM ROUGHT, DEFENDANT



Pepe, J.s.c.

Pepe

[221 NJSuper Page 43] On March 27, 1987 defendant, William Rought, was stopped by Patrolman Thomas Quinn of the Manchester Township Police Department and charged with violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, driving while intoxicated, and N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, driving while revoked. The testimony below indicates that defendant has at least five prior convictions for both N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 and N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Defendant pled guilty to both charges whereupon the Manchester Township Municipal Court imposed sentence as follows: 1) as to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, ten (10) years suspended driving privileges, a $1,000 fine, $15 court costs, $100 drinking driving enforcement penalty and 180 days in the Ocean County Jail; and 2) as to N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, a $1,000 fine, $15 court costs, and pursuant to paragraph (e) of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, an additional $500 fine, $15 court costs, suspension of driving privileges for an additional two years and 90 days in the Ocean County Jail to run concurrently with the 180-day term already imposed.

Defendant raises two issues on appeal. Primarily, he asserts that the municipal court erred in imposing two separate penalties for violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, one pursuant to paragraph (c) and the other pursuant to the language following "Notwithstanding" in paragraph (e). Defendant contends that, in the case of a conviction under N.J.S.A. 39:3-40, where an individual's license has been revoked pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:4-50, the penalties set forth in the final portion of part (e) are intended to supercede those penalties set forth in the balance of the statute, thereby representing the entirety of the punishment that is authorized. Defendant's second assertion is that he is entitled to a credit against his 180-day jail term for time served in an inpatient alcoholic program. This court finds that the imposition of two separate fines under N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 was improper and that defendant is further entitled to a suspension of the 180-day jail term conditioned upon his successful completion of 90 days inpatient alcoholic treatment and 90 days community service.

I.

The primary issue in this case is one of statutory interpretation. N.J.S.A. 39:3-40 states, in pertinent part:

A person violating this section shall be subject to the following penalties:

a. Upon conviction for a first offense, a fine of $500.00;

b. Upon conviction for a second offense, a fine of $750.00 and imprisonment in the county jail for not more than five days;

c. Upon conviction for a third offense, a fine of $1,000.00 and imprisonment in the county jail for 10 days;

d. Upon conviction, the court shall impose or extend a period of suspension not to exceed six months;

e. Upon conviction, the court shall impose a period of imprisonment for not less than 45 days, if while operating a vehicle in violation of this section a person is involved in an accident resulting in personal injury to another person.

Notwithstanding paragraphs a. through e., any person violating this section while under suspension issued pursuant to R.S. 39:4-50, upon conviction, shall be fined $500.00, shall have his license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for an additional period of not less than one year nor more than two ...


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