FISCAL NOTE

[First Reprint]

ASSEMBLY, No. 4062

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

217th LEGISLATURE

 

DATED: DECEMBER 13, 2017

 

 

SUMMARY

 

Synopsis:

Establishes that failure to maintain lane may constitute recklessness under vehicular homicide statute; designated as Eileenís Law.

Type of Impact:

Annual expenditure and revenue increases to State General Fund.

Agencies Affected:

Department of Law and Public Safety; Judiciary; Office of the Public Defender; Department of Corrections; State Parole Board.

 

 

Judicial Estimate

Fiscal Impact

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

 

Annual State Expenditure Increase

Indeterminate Ė See Comments Below

 

 

 

 

Office of Legislative Services Estimate

Fiscal Impact

††† Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

 

Annual State Expenditure Increase

Indeterminate Ė See Comments Below

 

Annual State Revenue Increase

Indeterminate Ė See Comments Below

 

 

 

 

         The Office of Legislative Services (OLS) concurs with the Administrative Office of the Courtsí (AOC) assessment that allowing for the conviction of a crime of the third degree of any motorist whose failure to maintain a traffic lane results in the death of another person would cause an indeterminate annual expenditure increase to the courts from having to process additional criminal cases.† The AOC cannot quantify the number of defendants who would be charged or convicted under this bill.

         The OLS adds that the bill could also increase the annual workload and expenditures of the Department of Law and Public Safety, the Office of the Public Defender, the Department of Corrections, and the State Parole Board.† The State may also receive indeterminate additional annual revenue from fines and penalties imposed on individuals convicted of the billís new third degree crime. †The OLS, however, lacks sufficient information to quantify the billís fiscal impacts, as it is unclear how many persons would be prosecuted, tried, and sentenced for having violated the provisions of the bill in any given fiscal year.

 

 

BILL DESCRIPTION

 

††††† Assembly Bill No. 4062 (1R) of 2016 allows for the conviction of a crime of the third degree of any motorist whose failure to maintain a traffic lane results in the death of another person when the motorist does not commit another contemporaneous criminal offense.† A crime of the third degree is punishable by imprisonment of three to five years, a maximum fine of $15,000, or both.†

††††† Under current law, the failure to maintain a traffic lane is a moving violation that carries a penalty ranging from $100 to $300 and a $50 surcharge (N.J.S.A.39:4-88.1).†† †

 

 

FISCAL ANALYSIS

 

JUDICIAL BRANCH

 

††††† The AOC states that in calendar year 2016, there were 38 violations of N.J.S.A.2C:11-5 (death by auto or vessel) that might have been impacted by the provisions of this bill, if they had been in effect at the time.† Although the Judiciary does not anticipate incurring any new costs because of the legislation, the Judiciary is unable to determine the impact this bill would have on the number of defendants charged or convicted.† As a result, the Judiciary cannot estimate the fiscal impact the bill would have on the courts.

 

 

OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE SERVICES

 

††††† The OLS concurs with the AOCís assessment that allowing for the conviction of a crime of the third degree of any motorist whose failure to maintain a traffic lane results in the death of another person would cause an indeterminate annual expenditure increase to the courts from having to process additional criminal cases.†

††††† The OLS adds that the bill could also increase the annual workload and expenditures of the Department of Law and Public Safety, the Office of the Public Defender, the Department of Corrections, and the State Parole Board.† The State may also receive indeterminate additional annual revenue from fines and penalties imposed on individuals convicted of the billís new third degree crime. †The OLS, however, lacks sufficient information to quantify the billís fiscal impacts, as it is unclear how many persons would be prosecuted, tried, and sentenced for having violated the provisions of the bill in any given fiscal year.

††††† The bill would increase State operating expenditures if: †a) the Department of Law and Public Safety prosecutes additional defendants under the provisions of this bill; b) the Judiciary adjudicates additional cases related to the new criminal offense; c) the Office of the Public Defender provides legal representation to low-income criminal defendants who are charged with having violated the billís prohibitions; d) the Department of Corrections houses and cares for individuals sentenced to prison terms for having violated the billís prohibitions; and e) the State Parole Board supervises the return to society of those convicts.†† †

††††† The OLS has no information on the additional workload and expenditures that the bill may impose on affected State departments and agencies but notes that it is unlikely that defendants convicted of the new third degree crime would be sentenced to prison terms.† This is so because a presumption of non-incarceration generally applies to first-time offenders of crimes of the third degree.† To the extent that convicted defendants receive prison sentences, however, the Department of Corrections has indicated that the average estimated per capita cost to house an inmate in a State prison facility in FY 2016 totaled $45,000. †Department data also indicate that the marginal cost for food, wages and clothing for an additional prison inmate in its facilities totals $7.15 per day, or $2,610 annually.

††††† Any additional State cost from allowing for the criminalization of the failure to maintain a lane if such failure results in the death of another person may be offset, in full or in part, by fines and penalties imposed by the courts on persons convicted of having committed the new crime. †Fines could be as high as $15,000 per violation; however, the Stateís ability to collect criminal fines and penalties has historically been limited.

 

Section:

Judiciary

Analyst:

Anne C. Raughley

Principal Fiscal Analyst

Approved:

Frank W. Haines III

Legislative Budget and Finance Officer

 

This fiscal note has been prepared pursuant to P.L.1980, c.67 (C.52:13B-6 et seq.).