If you receive a traffic ticket as a result of an incident involving a motor vehicle accident, your attorney can ask the Municipal Court Judge for a “civil reservation.” This means that your guilty plea to a plea bargain in the Municipal Court cannot be used as evidence against you in the event that the other party involved in the accident files a lawsuit against you in civil court.
On March 19, 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a new ruling for civil reservations in Maida v. Kuskin. The Court ruled that the request for a civil reservation must “occur in open court” and that “the prosecutor or a person injured in the motor vehicle accident may object to such an order and demonstrate good cause to bar entry of an order.” If good cause is shown, then the civil reservation can be denied. Furthermore, a civil reservation cannot be granted without a court appearance.
If you have been charged with a traffic violation due to a car accident, it is critical that you discuss the case with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help protect your rights in Municipal Court and argue for a civil reservation, if necessary.