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3 N.J.A.R. 105

Motor Vehicles, Division of v. Kennedy, Patrick J
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Citation: 3 N.J.A.R. 105
Decision Date: 1980
Synopsis: After being involved in a fatal accident, Patrick J. Kennedy was issue( a summons for driving while under the influence of alcohol in violation o N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. As a result, the Division of Motor Vehicles proposed t( suspend his license for a period of three years pursuant to N.J.S.A. 39:5. 30(b). The respondent agreed to the terms of a settlement which imposed a 1.' month suspension of his driving privileges subject to a determination tha the hearing required by N.J.S.A. 39:5-30(b) was within the time perioc specified by statute. The administrative law judge noted that prior to the effective date ot N.J.S.A. 39:5-30(b) there existed no separate scheme for administrative hearings involving fatal accidents, but that the statute now provides for a hearing on the matter within 45 days of the date the summons was issued. The administrative law judge concluded that although the hearing in the present matter was on the 46th day after the issuance of the summons, this was not a fatal jurisdictional deficiency and he was not precluded from considering the matter. The judge reasoned that the '45 day rule' could not reasonably have been intended by the Legislature to result in immunizing alleged offenders to defend against charges which, if proven, would remove them from the public highways. The primary purpose of the legislative scheme embodied in Title 39 is to remove motor vehicle offenders from the public highways while the specific aim of N.J.S.A. 39:5-30(b) was to see that such a goal was carried out within a specific period of time. In addition, the judge found that no prejudice to the respondent could be shown by the delay and thus no violation of fundamental due process could be said to have occurred. Accordingly, the judge determined that he did have jurisdiction over the matter and concluded that the respondent's license should be suspended in accordance with the terms of the settlement. 106 Office of Administrative Law Gary P. Sarlo, Deputy Attorney General, for Petitioner (John J. Degnan, Attorney General of New Jersey, Attorney) Samuel Mayer, Esq., for Respondent