On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Camden County, Indictment No. 08-12-3652.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted December 7, 2010
Before Judges Carchman and Graves.
In a four-count indictment, defendant Miguel Gutierrez was charged with second-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1(b)(1); third-degree aggravated assault, N.J.S.A. 2C:12- 1(b)(2); fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon (a knife), N.J.S.A. 2C:39-5(d); and third-degree possession of a knife for an unlawful purpose, N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(d). On March 16, 2009, defendant pled guilty to third-degree aggravated assault. In exchange for the plea, the State agreed to dismiss the remaining charges and further agreed to recommend a three-year prison term. The court sentenced defendant in accordance with the negotiated plea agreement.
In this direct appeal from the judgment of conviction dated June 5, 2009, defendant's attorney argues that defendant should be allowed to withdraw his plea because he has been "a long time lawful permanent resident of the United States" and "was never advised of the immigration consequences of his guilty plea."
For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of conviction without prejudice to defendant's right to file a Rule 3:21-1 motion to withdraw the plea or a petition for post- conviction relief.
Prior to entering his plea, defendant completed a plea form with his attorney. Questions 17.a and 17.b asked: "Are you a citizen of the United States?" and "Do you understand that if you are not a United States citizen or national, you may be deported by virtue of your plea of guilty?" The possible answers were "Yes" and "No," and "Yes" was circled next to both questions. Defendant also confirmed that he understood all of the questions on the plea form and that he provided truthful answers:
THE COURT: . . . Sir, do you understand what you're charged with?
THE COURT: Have you had enough time to discuss the matter with [your attorney]?
THE COURT: Has he answered all your ...