Municipal Courts of New Jersey (NJ)

We sometimes come across people complaining about having to go to the municipal court for settlement of simple or minor offenses like traffic ticket information on a specific court date, or for some municipal case resolution; well, they are headed to the municipal court and New Jersey municipal courts are no different. 

Think of municipal court in New Jersey as an independent branch of government that is there to pass the law and to protect the citizens. There are a total of 539 municipal courts in NJ that hold jurisdiction over municipal ordinance violations and are responsible for municipal case resolution. They are also responsible for the settlement of traffic and moto vehicle violations and manage offenses related to municipal traffic. Additionally, they overlook the process of maintaining the rule of law by passing judgment over minor criminal offenses.

The very presence of New Jersey municipal courts means rights and liberties guaranteed for the residents of New Jersey. In their own mission statement:

“We are an independent branch of government constitutionally entrusted with the fair and just resolution of disputes in order to preserve the rule of law and to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States and this State.”

Roles and Responsibilities of NJ municipal court:

The New Jersey municipal courts are dedicated to providing equal and fair access to the justice system to everyone while ensuring they don’t encounter any inconvenience, delay, or have to pay up excessively for it. They handle municipal court appearances and impose court fines wherever necessary.

The municipal courts in NJ also offer their services for simple and easy municipal case resolution while preserving the constitutional right of every citizen to trial by an impartial judge/jury. They enforce the rule of law at a municipal level by arranging court sessions on a daily basis. Their experience allows them to decide right from wrong and as per the nature of the case, they impose court fines.

Even in NJ municipal court, there are subdivisions that are responsible for hearing particular types of cases. Each division is responsible for its relevant municipal court case search and issue court notice to involved parties. Then they play their part in their respective municipal case resolution.

Divisions in Municipal Courts in NJ:

Major divisions include:

  1. A division for traffic and criminal offenses; it is where decisions pertaining to municipal traffic are handled and ticket information is reviewed in order to determine whether the issuance was just or not. Court date dictates court appearance and court fines are imposed. The division also hears minor criminal cases and passes judgment on them.
  2. Then there is a division for civil cases that organizes court sessions for handling cases that have a certain amount (less than 15000$) at issue.
  3. Finally, there is a division in municipal court in New Jersey that is related to environmental and housing. It organizes court sessions to hear cases on criminal actions related to health, housing, building, and safety codes particularly related to residential places. The court also handles issues of landlords and tenants along with cases for eviction notices and others of the sort.

The Tough Job of NJ Municipal Court:

In all fairness, the job of a municipal court judge is anything but easy. They are responsible for passing a just, fair, and mutually agreeable decision which at times can be tougher than one might expect. They organize court sessions by issuing court notices on specific court dates. The rights and liberties guaranteed by the New Jersey municipal courts are for the betterment of the civilians and results in everyone’s rights and liberties guaranteed. The majority of the judges are practitioners of law as attorneys with over 6 years of experience. A criminal defendant in most cases has the liberty to decide whether they would prefer to have a judge or a jury decide whether they are guilty or not.

Conclusion:

The municipal courts in NJ are there for our own betterment. They play a vital role to ensure justice prevails and law and order are maintained on the municipal level.