What is a Civil Reservation?

The Rules of Court permit a defendant to enter a plea of guilty to a traffic offense with a civil reservation.[FN1] The effect of the civil reservation is to seal the guilty plea so that it may not be used as evidence in any civil proceeding. The existence of this provision is intended to obviate the necessity of useless traffic court trials that would otherwise be conducted to protect the defendant from future civil claims. The acceptance of a guilty plea with a civil reservation in traffic court is permissive, in that the Rules provide that the judge “may” enter the order sealing the plea. An analogous Rule exists for criminal matters in the Superior Court.[FN2] However, a civil reservation in Superior Court requires a showing of good cause as a basis for the order. In traffic court, no such finding by the court is necessary. Accordingly, the Appellate Division has held that an order for a civil reservation in municipal court should be entered as a matter of course, unless the State or a victim can establish good cause why the order should not be entered.[FN3] [FNa0] of the New Jersey Bar.
[FN1] Rule 7:6-2(a)(1). [FN2] Rule 3:9-2. [FN3] State v. LaResca, 267 N.J. Super. 411, 421, 631 A.2d 986, 991 (App. Div. 1993).

Civil Reservations and Traffic Tickets

As indicated by the Court Rule, a civil reservation should be granted in municipal court unless the state shows good cause for why it should not be granted. A civil reservation can have a tremendously positive impact in a civil case stemming from an accident involving a motor vehicle violation. For this reason, you should consider hiring an attorney to secure your civil reservation, as well as to minimize or dismiss the traffic tickets you’re facing. The small cost up front can save you a lot of money and headache down the road. Call 1 (877) 450-8301 to speak with an attorney today.