When you face a petty criminal offense, traffic violation charge, or misdemeanor, your case will likely go to municipal court. NJ municipal court lawyers specialize in cases handled by these local courthouses. Although the authority of a municipal court is limited to its local jurisdiction, convictions are serious and carry hefty penalties. If you try to face a municipal court trial alone, chances are you’ll be hit with heavy fines and even jail time. Working with an NJ municipal court lawyer is the best way to ensure your case has the most favorable outcome possible.
What Are Municipal Courts?
Municipal courts are the lowest level of the judicial system, dealing with charges in their local governance. Every city, county, and town will have their own municipal court. These courts handle any offense that takes place within their boundaries. This means that if you commit a traffic violation in Milltown but you live in Sayreville, your case will take place at the Milltown municipal court.
What Charges NJ Municipal Court Lawyers Cover
Because there are so many laws and regulations that can change based on which town, city, or county you live in, many charges are held in those local municipal courts. Your case is only going to be heard at the superior courts if you are charged with a serious criminal offense (such as theft or assault) or if you make an appeal after being convicted in the municipal court.
The most common cases held in municipal courts are for traffic violations. Traffic violation cases are held at the local level because there can be slight variations in rules and regulations from city to city. Even criminal traffic charges, such as drunk driving, tend to end up in the municipal courts. Examples of traffic violations handled in municipal courts include:
- Driving under the influence
- Parking tickets
- Reckless driving
- Driving with a suspended license
Thankfully, with the knowledge and expertise of NJ municipal court lawyers, you don’t have to face a traffic violation charge alone.
Misdemeanors and Petty Criminal Offenses
Most misdemeanors will end up in a municipal court because they deal with local ordinances. But municipal courts also hear some petty criminal offenses. It depends on the severity of the crime and the defendant’s criminal record. Examples of misdemeanor and petty criminal offense cases held in municipal courts include:
- Resisting arrest
- Simple assault
- Fish and game violations
- Dog bites
- Bad checks
- Disorderly conduct
- Building code violations
NJ municipal court lawyers are trained and experienced in dealing with these kinds of cases and can help you navigate your hearing.
How NJ Municipal Court Lawyers Can Help
You are not required to have a lawyer for a municipal court case. However, it’s better for your case if you do work with an attorney. NJ municipal court lawyers have the knowledge you need to successfully defend your case or negotiate reduced penalties. Whether or not you are convicted, having a lawyer on your side will always benefit your cause.
Defending Against Charges
If you are innocent or your case was handled improperly, your attorney can help get the charges dropped or the case dismissed. However, this is something that requires knowledge of the law and the ability to present proof in the right way. Even if you are not guilty, you should not try to defend yourself in court. Your lawyer will help you gather the information you need to defend your case and fight for your rights during your hearings.
Negotiating Plea Bargains
A hearing takes a lot of time and resources on the court’s part. In many cases, your lawyer may encourage you to consider a plea bargain. A plea bargain is when you agree to plead guilty to your charges early on in exchange for lesser penalties. This is usually a great option for many first-time offenders, as admitting to your charges saves the court time and can often prove that you have learned from your mistakes and won’t make them again.
If you do go to trial and you are convicted, your lawyer can still help to get the best deal possible. Many violations carry heavy penalties in the interest of dissuading further criminal behavior. But this doesn’t mean you always have to take the highest punishment possible. NJ municipal court lawyers have the skills needed to fight for you and secure lesser penalties that won’t leave as large an impact on your life.
Navigating the Court Process
One of the biggest reasons to have a lawyer on your side is to simply help you understand how your case could go. Charges can be complex and difficult to understand, and you may not always know what you need to do for your case. Your lawyer can help you navigate the municipal court process and ensure you’re doing everything possible to help your defense. And if you face conviction or take a plea bargain, your lawyer can also help you understand the penalties you face and how best to handle them.
Where to Find NJ Municipal Court Lawyers
If you do face a traffic violation charge, misdemeanor, or petty criminal offense, you need an attorney on your side. NJ municipal court lawyers such as Attorney Leon Matchin are here to help you navigate the courtroom and secure the best possible outcome. Do you need help with a drunk driving ticket, disorderly conduct offense, or resisting arrest? Attorney Matchin is here to defend you. Call his office now at 732-887-2479 or email him at [email protected] to get help with your case. The sooner you start working with a lawyer, the better your odds are of getting a favorable outcome.