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State v. Sylvester

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division

March 10, 2014

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
SUZANNE SYLVESTER, Defendant-Appellant

Argued September 18, 2013

Approved For Publication June 17, 2014.

On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Somerset County, Indictment No. 12-07-00511.

Joseph B. Truland, Jr., argued the cause for appellant.

Annemarie L. Mueller, Assistant Prosecutor, argued the cause for respondent (Geoffrey D. Soriano, Somerset County Prosecutor, attorney; Ms. Mueller, of counsel and on the brief).

Before Judges FUENTES, SIMONELLI and HAAS.

OPINION

Page 257

[437 N.J.Super. 2] FUENTES, P.J.A.D.

Defendant Suzanne Sylvester was tried before the Law Division, Criminal Part in Somerset County on one count of fourth degree driving while her license was suspended or revoked for a second or subsequent conviction for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (DWI), N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b). Defendant waived her constitutional right to a trial by jury, and agreed to be tried before Judge Robert B. Reed, acting as the trier of fact.

Based on facts stipulated by defendant and the State on the record, Judge Reed found defendant guilty and sentenced her to a three-year term of probation subject to a mandatory minimum term of 180 days incarceration[1] without parole, and imposed other statutorily required fines and penalties.[2]

[437 N.J.Super. 3] In this appeal, defendant's principal arguments are predicated on collaterally attacking the legal viability of the Title 39 convictions that formed the underlying basis for criminal culpability under N.J.S.A. 2C:40-26(b). We reject these arguments and affirm. We gather the following facts from the record developed before the trial court.

I

On April 19, 2013, defendant appeared before Judge Reed represented by private counsel. The Assistant Prosecutor representing the State and defense counsel informed the court that they had agreed to submit on stipulated facts, " and therefore, no witnesses regarding the stipulations are required to testify at trial." The Assistant Prosecutor then placed the following stipulated facts on the record:

First, on March 25th of 2012, defendant Susan [sic] Sylvester was knowingly driving her motor vehicle on Route 206 in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey. She pulled to the side of the road. Officer Anthony Damiano from the Peapack-Gladstone Police Department pulled behind the defendant. Defendant told Officer Damiano that she was driving and had run out of gas.
Second. Officer Damiano learned that defendant's driver's license was currently suspended for a DWI conviction. On February 17th of 2011, defendant was convicted in Mendham Municipal Court of DWI in violation of N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. She was sentenced to a two-year loss of driver's license. That driver's license suspension began on February 17th, 2011 and was to end on February 17th, 2013.
[Third.] Defendant knew her driver's license was suspended for a second or subsequent DWI conviction when she operated her motor vehicle in ...

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