On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Docket No. MA-5804.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Before Judges A. A. Rodríguez and C. L. Miniman.
In January 2003, defendant Joseph L. Ford pleaded guilty in the Municipal Court of New Providence to driving while impaired (DWI), N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. This was his third DWI conviction.*fn1
The municipal court judge imposed the following sentence: thirty days at the Sheriff's Labor Assistance Program pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2B:12-22; forty-eight hours at an Intoxicated Driver Resource center; sixty days house arrest and ninety days community service. In addition, defendant was to pay: a fine of $1,002; costs of $30; surcharges $325. Defendant's driver's license is suspended for ten years. The sentence was not stayed. Thus, defendant has satisfied all aspects of the sentence, except for the remainder of the license suspension. In July 2006, defendant moved in the Municipal Court to reduce the period of license suspension. The motion was denied. This denial was appealed to the Law Division. The motion was again denied.
Defendant now appeals to us contending:
THE LAW ALLOWS THE COURT, IN ITS DISCRETION, TO REDUCE OR CHANGE A SENTENCE.
We must reject this argument. First, we note that defendant has provided no authority for this contention. Second, N.J.S.A. 39:4-50(a)(3) expressly provides that, "[a] court does not have the discretion to lower or reduce" the ten-year suspension. See State v. Lucci, 310 N.J. Super. 58, 60 (App. Div. 1998) (enforcing this prohibition).
EFFECTIVE JANUARY 12, 2006, THE LEGISLATURE GRANTED DISCRETION TO A SENTENCING COURT THAT ALLOWS FOR REDUCED LICENSE SUSPENSION WHERE COMPELLING CIRCUMSTANCES AND EXTREME HARDSHIP EXIST AND WHERE ALTERNATIVE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AVAILABLE.
We disagree. This argument is based on the 2006 amendment to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-16, a section of the New Jersey Criminal Code. That section is limited to driver's license suspensions pursuant to the Criminal Code, not traffic offenses pursuant to Title 39. Ibid., State v. Hammond, 118 N.J. 306, 318 (1990).
NEW JERSEY'S SENTENCING PROCEDURE UPON A CONVICTION OF A THIRD DWI IS UNUSUAL AND THEREFORE IN VIOLATION OF ARTICLE I, PARAGRAPH ...