COURT RULE 7:3-2. Hearing on First Appearance; Right to Counsel
- (a) Hearing on First Appearance. At the defendant's first appearance, the judge shall inform the defendant of the charges and shall furnish the defendant with a copy of the complaint or copy of the electronic ATS/ACS record of the complaint, if not previously provided to the defendant. The judge shall also inform the defendant of the range of penal consequences for each offense charged, the right to remain silent and that any statement made may be used against the defendant. The judge shall inform the defendant of the right to retain counsel or, if indigent, to have counsel assigned pursuant to paragraph (b) of this rule. The defendant shall be specifically asked whether legal representation is desired and defendant's response shall be recorded on the complaint. If the defendant is represented at the first appearance or then affirmatively states the intention to proceed without counsel, the court may, in its discretion, immediately arraign the defendant pursuant to R. 7:6-1.
- (b) Assignment of Counsel. If the defendant asserts indigency but does not affirmatively state an intention to proceed without counsel, the court shall order defendant to complete an appropriate application and other forms prescribed by the Administrative Director of the Courts. Pursuant to law, the judge shall either order defendant to pay any application fee or shall waive its payment. If the court is satisfied that the defendant is indigent and that the defendant faces a consequence of magnitude or is otherwise constitutionally or by law entitled to counsel, the court shall assign the municipal public defender to represent the defendant. The "Guidelines for Determining a Consequence of Magnitude" are contained in the Appendix to Part VII of the Rules of Court. The court may, however, excuse the municipal public defender for cause and assign counsel to represent the defendant, without cost to the defendant from, insofar as practicable, a list of attorneys maintained by the Assignment Judge. Assigned counsel shall promptly file an appearance pursuant to R. 7:7-9. The court shall allow the defendant a reasonable time and opportunity to consult trial defense counsel before proceeding further. Assigned counsel shall represent the defendant through trial and, in the event of a conviction, through sentencing, including advising the defendant of the right to appeal. If the defendant elects to appeal, assigned counsel or the municipal public defender shall prepare and file the notice of appeal and an application for the assignment of appellate counsel, but neither assigned counsel nor the municipal public defender shall act as appellate counsel or represent defendant on any subsequent application for post-conviction relief unless specifically so assigned by the court. Assigned counsel shall, however, be responsible for the representation of the defendant on the appeal upon failure to file either the notice of appeal or the application for the assignment of counsel on appeal.