Municipal Court

New Jersey is a state where almost every town has its own court. Municipal courts handle a variety of offenses, including disorderly persons offenses, which are minor crimes often called misdemeanors in other states. Municipal courts also hear DWI and other serious traffic offenses, as well as motor vehicle offenses, such as speeding and driving without a license. Municipal courts also hear regulatory offenses, which are violations issued by municipal officials relating to care and maintenance of properties in the municipalities, as well as regulations relating to owning and operating businesses.

If you are charged with an offense in municipal court, you should consult an attorney. Certain municipal court offenses, such as disorderly persons offenses, can carry up to six months in jail. For example, simple assault, harassment arising out of domestic violence and other encounters are often heard in municipal courts and can carry serious consequences. Likewise, DWI and other motor vehicle offenses, such as driving while suspended, can carry serious consequences. A first-time DWI often resolves with the installation of an ignition interlock device and no loss of driving privileges. However, a second or third DWI offense carry a mandatory loss of driving privileges of up to eight years, as well as a mandatory six-months incarceration in county jail for a third DWI offense.

There are some diversion programs available in the municipal courts for disorderly persons involving simple assault, minor drug possession and similar offenses.

Paul Brickfield has been representing clients in the municipal courts of New Jersey for over 30 years. He has vast experience in this area and has successfully represented many clients in reaching either outright dismissals or other favorable resolutions of cases. You should consult an attorney before attempting to handle a municipal court matter on your behalf. Unfortunately, on occasion, we have clients come to us who have already pled guilty to a municipal court matter believing that since they only paid a fine there was no consequence. Some of these clients are shocked to find that they have actually have a criminal record as a result of the guilty plea. Clients are often not aware that there are many good resolutions in the municipal courts, including the Conditional Dismissal program, where after a period of good behavior, the charge may be dismissed completely. Likewise, prosecutors often will downgrade or reduce charges in municipal court, sometimes to a municipal ordinance, which is a violation of a municipal law and is not considered to be a crime.