Understanding Gap-Time Credit

Gap-time credit is delineated in N.J.S.A. 2C:44-5(b). If a defendant is given two separate sentences on two different dates (two different violations), then defendant will receive credit toward the second sentence for time spent in custody since defendant began serving the first sentence.

A defendant must received gap-time credit if the following three factors are met:

  1. Defendant has been sentenced previously to a term of imprisonment;
  2. Defendant is sentenced subsequently to another term;
  3. Both offenses occurred prior to the imposition of the first sentence.

State v. Franklin, 175 N.J. 456, 462 (2003).

In State v. Walters, the court held that gap-time credit applies to traffic violations committed under Title 39 of the N.J.S.A. ¬† The appellate court reversed the decision of the law division because defendant satisfied the three prong test of N.J.S.A. 2c:44-5(b)(2). ¬†Citing another court decision, the court explained that the purpose of the statute is “to avoid manipulation of trial dates to the disadvantage of defendants and to put defendants in the position that they would have been had the two offenses been tried at the same time.

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