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Reasons You May Attend a Municipal Court Case
The municipal court is part of New Jersey’s court system. This court has limited jurisdiction, meaning it can only hear certain types of cases. Even so, there is a good chance you will end up in municipal court at some point in your life. Learn the common reasons people get summoned to this court.
Reasons people go to municipal court
Municipal Court cases are divided into four main categories. Many people are summoned for minor criminal offenses or motor vehicle infractions. Others receive summonses for municipal ordinance violations and fish and game offenses. When people receive a summons to municipal court, they might have the option to plead guilty and pay a fine. However, many people are required to appear. Also, witnesses for the prosecution and defense can be summoned to appear in court.
Minor criminal offenses
Those who commit minor criminal offenses are summoned to municipal court. Minor criminal offenses include writing bad checks, simple assault, and petty disorderly conduct. Possession of marijuana and shoplifting cases are also heard in this court. More serious criminal cases go to Superior Court. Even though the offenses are minor, fines and jail time are possible when summoned to this court.
Motor vehicle infractions
Motor vehicle infractions are often heard in municipal court. People who receive a summons due to parking tickets might not need to appear in court. They can often plead guilty and mail the fine. Many infractions require that people make an appearance, though. Common cases include driving without insurance and leaving the scene of an accident. Those accused of driving while intoxicated can also end up in this court.
Municipal ordinance violations
Municipalities have ordinances that residents must follow. Common ordinances include disturbing the peace, littering, and public intoxication. Local ordinances also include building codes and standards for maintaining a property. People who are accused of violating one of the ordinances can expect to get summoned to court. The court will determine if the accused violated the ordinance.
Fish and game violations
Fish and game violations are also commonly heard in municipal court. Violations include impersonating a conservation officer and fishing or hunting without a license. Potential infractions are numerous. With so many potential violations, the court hears these cases regularly.
Witnesses can also be summoned to appear in municipal court. Both the prosecution and defense can have witnesses. These cases are not tried in front of a jury, so witnesses testify in front of the defendant, judge, and attorneys. Witnesses are subject to cross-examination from the opposing attorney.
Getting help with a municipal court case
If you have been summoned to the municipal court, you can hire an attorney to represent you. Your attorney might request a continuation to move the case to a later date. Then, the attorney can gather evidence through discovery to defend the case. Your attorney can also advise you on potential plea deals when representing you.
Call us at (732) 449-0449 for more information from Anthony J. Cafaro, P.C. or to schedule a consultation in our office in Sea Girt. NOTE: This is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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