Going to municipal court is not like something that you see on television. While there is a judge and attorneys, there are several key differences that make the municipal court system unique. Notably, there is not a jury. In a municipal court hearing the judge alone will decide the case after listening to the facts and arguments. They will then administer an adequate punishment based on the crime and the New Jersey Sentencing guidelines. Going to municipal court can be overwhelming for many people because there is seemingly a lack of organization and the judge often must hear many cases, therefore does not have the time or patience to explain the process during the hearing. However, the Galloway Township Municipal Court does not have the authority to hear all types of cases. The municipal courts in New Jersey will hear lower level criminal offenses such as disorderly persons offenses and traffic offenses.
The jurisdiction of municipal courts in New Jersey is specified at N.J.S. 2B:12-17. Under this statute, municipal courts have jurisdiction over the following types of cases. With any of the following offenses in New Jersey, you will likely be headed to municipal court:
• Disorderly conduct
• Possessing a fake identification.
• Possessing drug paraphernalia
• Possessing in small quantities (under 50 grams)
• Shoplifting, or retail theft, under $200
• Simple assault
• Resisting arrest
• Underage possession of alcohol
In addition, the Municipal Court has the authority to hear:
• Violations of county or municipal ordinances
• Violations of New Jersey motor vehicle and traffic laws
• Disorderly persons offenses, petty disorderly persons offenses and other non-indictable offenses except where exclusive jurisdiction is given to the Superior Court
• Violations of New Jersey fish and game laws
• Proceedings to collect a penalty where jurisdiction is granted by statute
• Violations of New Jersey laws regulating boating
• Any other proceedings where jurisdiction is granted by New Jersey statute
What are the Potential Penalties?
After years of practicing in criminal law, the attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Zarych have found that many people do not recognize the impact of being convicted of a crime at the Municipal Court. While as a matter of right, you are able to appeal a conviction to the Superior Court, some clients wait too long after their municipal court appearance or simply wrongly admitted guilt and now must face their punishments. While it is true that the municipal court in New Jersey is generally the lowest court in the hierarchy, municipal judges are still empowered to impose incarceration, fines, driver’s license suspension, and other penalties if the defendant is found guilty.
Even in traffic cases, a municipal judge can impose a jail term of up to 6 months. For example one of the most common offenses that bring a person to the Galloway Township Municipal Court is Jersey DUI (Driving under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated). These are very serious charges in New Jersey, and the consequences of being convicted are disastrous. A person who is convicted of driving while under the influence before the municipal judge can have their license suspended for a mandatory three months to a 12-month suspension, even for a first offense. A person who is convicted of driving under the influence for a third or subsequent time can face a license suspension of up to ten years. In addition, each conviction for driving while under the influence can lead to a period of incarceration at the county jail; thirty days for the first offense and up to ninety days for a second, and a mandatory 180 for a third or subsequent offense.
In addition, a conviction of any Municipal Court offense may have a negative impact on your job and potential employment prospects. If you are convicted of a municipal offense then a record will be placed on your criminal record. These records will appear on a background check.
Where is the Galloway Township Municipal Court?
If you have any questions about Municipal court hours, procedures for submitting or obtaining legal documents, or any other aspects of a case or the judicial system, call the court in advance.
The Galloway Township Municipal Court is located at:
300 E. Jim Leeds Road
Galloway New Jersey, 08205
You can also call (609) 616-4956 to speak with the knowledgeable defense attorneys at the Law Offices of John J. Zarych. With over four decades of experience handling disorderly persons offenses, we are always here to assist you and your loved ones.
Contact an Atlantic City Criminal Defense Lawyer for Questions about an Upcoming Municipal Court Hearing
If you or one of your family members was arrested for a disorderly persons offense in New Jersey, it’s important to take the charges seriously. DP offenses may carry lighter penalties than indictable crimes, but make no mistake: a conviction still has the power to result in heavy fines, months of incarceration, the temporary suspension of your driver’s license, mandatory community service, and the creation of a permanent record which can be accessed by potential employers.
However, with representation from a skilled criminal defense lawyer, it may be possible to beat the charges or obtain a conditional dismissal, which means you will be placed under supervision instead of being sentenced to jail. To arrange for a free and private consultation, call the Law Offices of John J. Zarych at (609) 616-4956 right away. Se habla español.