COURT RULE 7:2. Process
7:2-1. Contents of Complaint, Arrest Warrant and Summons
- (a) Complaint: General. The complaint shall be a written statement of the essential facts constituting the offense charged made on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts. Except as otherwise provided by paragraphs (f) (Traffic Offenses), (g) (Special Form of Complaint and Summons), and (h) (Use of Special Form of Complaint and Summons in Penalty Enforcement Proceedings), the complaining witness shall attest to the facts contained in the complaint by signing a certification or signing an oath before a judge or other person so authorized by N.J.S.A. 2B:12-21.
If the complaining witness is a law enforcement officer, the complaint may be signed by an electronic entry secured by a Personal Identification Number (hereinafter referred to as an electronic signature) on the certification, which shall be equivalent to and have the same force and effect as an original signature.
- (b) Acceptance of Complaint. The municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator shall accept for filing every complaint made by any person.
- (c) Summons: General. The summons shall be on a Complaint-Summons form (CDR-1) or other form prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts and shall be signed by the officer issuing it. An electronic signature of any law enforcement officer or any other person authorized by law to issue a Complaint-Summons shall be equivalent to and have the same force and effect as an original signature. The summons shall be directed to the defendant named in the complaint, shall require defendant's appearance at a stated time and place before the court in which the complaint is made, and shall inform defendant that an arrest warrant may be issued for a failure to appear.
- (d) Arrest Warrant: General. he arrest warrant shall be made on a Complaint-Warrant form (CDR-2) or other form prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts and shall be signed by the judge or, when authorized by the judge, by the municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator after a determination of probable cause. An electronic signature by the judge, authorized municipal court administrator, or deputy court administrator shall be equivalent to and have the same force and effect as an original signature. The warrant shall contain the defendant's name or, if unknown, any name or description that identifies the defendant with reasonable certainty. It shall be directed to any officer authorized to execute it and shall order that the defendant be arrested and brought before the court issuing the warrant. The judicial officer issuing a warrant may specify therein the amount and conditions of bail, consistent with R. 7:4, required for defendant's release.
- (e) Arrest Warrant by Electronic Communication. A judge may issue an arrest warrant upon sworn oral testimony of a law enforcement applicant who is not physically present. Such sworn oral testimony may be communicated by the applicant to the judge by telephone, radio, or other means of electronic communication.
The judge shall administer the oath to the applicant. Subsequent to taking the oath, the applicant must identify himself or herself and read verbatim the Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) and any supplemental affidavit that establishes probable cause for the issuance of an arrest warrant. If the facts necessary to establish probable cause are contained entirely on the Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) and/or supplemental affidavit, the judge need not make a contemporaneous written or electronic recordation of the facts in support of probable cause. If the law enforcement applicant provides additional sworn oral testimony in support of probable cause, the judge shall contemporaneously record such sworn oral testimony by means of a tape-recording device or stenographic machine, if such are available; otherwise, adequate longhand notes summarizing the contents of the law enforcement applicant's testimony shall be made by the judge. This sworn testimony shall be deemed to be an affidavit or a supplemental affidavit for the purposes of issuance of an arrest warrant.
- An arrest warrant may issue if the judge is satisfied that probable cause exists for issuing the warrant. Upon approval, the judge shall memorialize the date, time, defendant's name, complaint number, the basis for the probable cause determination, and any other specific terms of the authorization. That memorialization shall be either by means of a tape-recording device, stenographic machine, or by adequate longhand notes. Thereafter, the judge shall direct the applicant to print his or her name, the date and time of the warrant, followed by the phrase "By Officer _________________, per telephonic authorization by________________" on the Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) form. Within 48 hours, the applicant shall deliver to the judge either in person or via facsimile transmission the signed Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2) and supporting affidavit. The judge shall verify the accuracy of these documents by affixing his or her signature to the Complaint-Warrant (CDR-2).
- Procedures authorizing issuance of restraining orders pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:35-5.7 (“Drug Offender Restraining Order Act of 1999”) and N.J.S.A. 2C:14-12 (“Nicole’s Law”) by electronic communications are governed by R. 7:4-1(c).
- (g) Traffic Offenses
- (1) Form of Complaint and Process. The Administrative Director of the Courts shall prescribe the form of Uniform Traffic Ticket to serve as the complaint, summons or other process to be used for all parking and other traffic offenses. On a complaint and summons for a parking or other non-moving traffic offense, the defendant need not be named. It shall be sufficient to set forth the license plate number of the vehicle, and its owner or operator shall be charged with the violation.
- (2) Issuance. The complaint may be made and signed by any person, but the summons shall be signed and issued only by a law enforcement officer or other person authorized by law to issue a Complaint-Summons, the municipal court judge, municipal court administrator or deputy court administrator of the court having territorial jurisdiction. An electronic signature of any law enforcement officer or other person authorized by law to issue a Complaint-Summons shall be equivalent to and have the same force and effect as an original signature.
- (3) Records and Reports. Each court shall be responsible for all Uniform Traffic Tickets printed and distributed to law enforcement officers or others in its territorial jurisdiction, for the proper disposition of Uniform Traffic Tickets, and for the preparation of such records and reports as the Administrative Director of the Courts prescribes. The provisions of this subparagraph shall apply to the Chief Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission, the Superintendent of State Police in the Department of Law and Public Safety, and to the responsible official of any other agency authorized by the Administrative Director of the Courts to print and distribute the Uniform Traffic Ticket to its law enforcement personnel.
- (g) Special Form of Complaint and Summons. A special form of complaint and summons for any action, as prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts, shall be used in the manner prescribed in place of any other form of complaint and process.
- (h) Use of Special Form of Complaint and Summons in Penalty Enforcement Proceedings. The Special Form of Complaint and Summons, as prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts, shall be used for all penalty enforcement proceedings in the municipal court, including those that may involve the confiscation and/or forfeiture of chattels. If the Special Form of Complaint and Summons is made by a governmental body or officer, it may be certified or verified on information and belief by any person duly authorized to act on its or the State's behalf.