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Police and Law Enforcement Home  >  The 45 Day Rule




The Most Misunderstood Concept in NJ Law Enforcement
Sunday, October 23, 2005 11:56 p.m.

The New Jersey Attorney General's Guidelines on Internal Affairs contains a provision that is misunderstood more often than it is understood.

Most have heard of the 45 Day Rule or the Forty Five Day Rule.

The actual rule as taken from the actual guideline as follows:

"Under N.J.S.A.40A:14-147, disciplinary charges alleging a violation of the agency’s rules and regulations must be filed within 45 days of the date the person filing the charge obtained sufficient information to file the charge."

Notice that the rule does not say that charges must be filed within 45 days of the incident.  They must be filed within "45 days of the date the person filing the charge obtained sufficient information to file the charge."

There is an exception to this, however.  As written in the policy...

"This “45 day rule” does not apply to disciplinary charges alleging officer misconduct or incapacity. In addition, citizens are not bound to make their complaint within 45 days of the incident. However, once the agency has received the citizen’s complaint, the 45 day rule applies."

One last part of the rule is also important:

"The commencement of a criminal investigation into the subject matter of an internal affairs complaint will cause the 45 day rule to be suspended pending the outcome of the criminal investigation. The 45 day rule will remain suspended until the disposition of the criminal investigation. However, upon disposition of the criminal investigation, agencies will once again be bound by the 45 day rule."

This last part simply means that the 45 day rule does not apply to criminal investigations.  Also, if a non-criminal internal affairs investigation becomes a criminal investigation, the 45 day rule becomes suspended.
Sunday, October 23, 2005 11:56 p.m.



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