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State of New Jersey v. Walter Mamchur

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


December 13, 2011

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
WALTER MAMCHUR, JR., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.

On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, Municipal Appeal No. 45-2010.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued December 6, 2011

Before Judges Simonelli and Hayden.

Following a trial de novo in the Law Division, defendant Walter Mamchur, Jr. appeals from his conviction on two charges of failure to make repairs to his motor vehicle and have it re-inspected, N.J.S.A. 39:8-4c. We affirm.

On August 25 and November 9, 2009, defendant was operating his 1988 Ford van, which displayed an inspection sticker that had expired in April 2009, and a red rejection inspection sticker.*fn1 He received a summons on each date for violating N.J.S.A. 39:8-4c.

Defendant took the van to a mechanic for repairs.*fn2 The mechanic made some repairs and then took the van to a state-licensed private inspection station for re-inspection. The private inspection station could not re-inspect the van because it did not have the appropriate inspection sticker. The inspection station intended to contact the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to obtain an appropriate inspection sticker, but did not obtain one before going out of business. Sometime after receiving the second summons, defendant took the van to an official DMV inspection station for re-inspection, and obtained a valid inspection sticker.

Defendant argued at the municipal court trial that he did not intend to violate the law, and that the private inspection station or the DMV was responsible for the van's failure to have a valid inspection sticker. The municipal court judge found defendant guilty of both charges, concluding that he had a non-delegable duty to repair his van and obtain a valid inspection sticker, and he drove the van without a valid inspection sticker. The judge imposed a one hundred and twenty-six dollar fine plus thirty dollars in court costs on each charge.

Defendant appealed his convictions, de novo, to the Law Division. Judge Ferencz denied the appeal, concluding that it was defendant's responsibility to have the van re-inspected and obtain a valid inspection sticker, and defendant admitted that he drove the van without a valid inspection sticker. The judge imposed the same fines imposed below. Defendant filed a motion for reconsideration, which the judge denied. This appeal followed.

On appeal, defendant argues that N.J.S.A. 39:8-4c does not explicitly require a motor vehicle owner to make repairs, re-inspect the vehicle, and obtain a legal inspection sticker; N.J.S.A. 39:8-9b(2) does not require a motor vehicle owner to "obtain" a legal inspection sticker, but just to "place or display" one on the vehicle; he met the legal requirements of N.J.S.A. 39:8-4c by having the repairs made and the van brought to a state-licensed private inspection station for re-inspection; and other parties were responsible to perform what was reasonable of them and should have been prosecuted in this case. We have considered these arguments in light of the record and applicable legal principles and conclude they are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(2). We affirm substantially for the reasons expressed by Judge Ferencz in his oral opinion rendered on August 13, 2010. However, we make the following brief comment.

N.J.S.A. 39:8-4c requires a motor vehicle owner, not a third party, to have his or her vehicle re-inspected following emission-related repairs. Defendant did not have his van re-inspected following the repairs, and drove it knowing that it had not been re-inspected. He, thus, violated the statute.

Affirmed.


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