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Municipal Court

New Jersey Municipal Courts

New Jersey Municipal Courts are where all of the action happens.

Municipal Court - The Basics

New Jersey Municipal Courts handle the highest volume of cases in the state.

From Traffic & DUI matters to Simple Assault & Harassment charges, these courts average thousands of cases per month.

Patience is an absolute necessity when going to municipal court. 

Your visit could take anywhere from an hour to four hours, especially when the court is crowded.

Expect medium to long lines starting at the security line.  Then you will have to wait in line to speak with the prosecutor.  Next, you will have to wait for the judge to call your case. 

Lastly, you will have to wait at the ticket window to pay your fines.

NJ municipal court Appearances

First and foremost, carry yourself as you would when you attend your school or religious institution.

Conduct yourself during your court appearance as you would in any formal gathering.

Plan in advance and think of all of the things that you would take into consideration, i.e. parking, proper attire, punctuality, seating, and most importantly, an adequate supply of patience.

You will be expected to demonstrate proper conduct at all times. 

Proper conduct means:

  • No talking or texting;
  • No eating/drinking/chewing gum;
  • Showing respect for court staff.

Court employees are some of the hardest-working employees in the New Jersey Municipal Court system and should never be mistreated.  In my experience, they are always doing their absolute best to help everyone.

If English is not your first language. 

If English is your second language, you may feel that you will not be able to properly present your case. Do not worry.

Every Municipal Court in New Jersey either has an interpreter in the courtroom or they have the technology to call a service that offers interpreters for every language. 

In short, everyone is accommodated.

municipal court - Time-Saving Tips

Have Your Paperwork

Being prepared with your documents will speed up the process. Your paperwork contains your ticket or complaint number and providing this to the court clerk simplifies everyone’s life.  

Cell Phones Off

If you are not represented by counsel, kindly inquire as to where you should go to check-in.  with the exception of counsel cases, all matters are taken in the order in which the person arrives.

New Jersey Municipal Court prosecutors deal with hundreds of people a week and these professionals really appreciate courteous defendants.  If you are appearing for a minor traffic offense, you may get a good result on your own & save money on attorney fees.

Important:

Every court is filled with microphones.  These microphones are state-of-the-art microphones and they are super sensitive.  They will record absolutely everything that is said in the court room.  You do not have an expectation of privacy in court and if you whisper an incriminating fact about your case to anyone, it may be recorded & used against you.  

Every court follows an order in hearing each case (with slight variations). 

Attorney cases go first. 

This means that if a defendant has retained counsel, even if the defendant and his attorney arrive after you, their case is heard first.  This is a court rule.

The reason for this is that attorneys appear in different courts throughout the day and if they had to wait until the very end of each court session to have their matter heard, then the courts would be back-logged for years.

Next, the judge hears all guilty pleas, dismissals, and adjournments (case gets carried to another date).

Towards the end of each court session, the judge hears all parking ticket cases.  If you are disputing a twenty-dollar ticket, ask yourself, “Is this ticket really worth four hours of my time?”

Trials take place at the very end of each court session.  They are often scheduled for “special” sessions because they can take many hours to complete depending on the amount of evidence and the number of witnesses.

 

Municipal Court & Pleading Guilty

If you decide to plead guilty to a misdemeanor or traffic offense “just because” you want to “get it over with”, think again.

Disorderly Persons convictions will stay on your record for five years.

Municipal ordinance convictions will stay on your record for two years.

Pleading guilty to a traffic ticket could result in losing your driving privileges.

Don’t let your impatience hurt you. Take your time and be informed before pleading guilty to anything.

Remember this: it’s ten times harder to undo a guilty plea than it is to resolve your case properly the first time around. During your first NJ court appearance, be patient & tell the judge that you would like to get a lawyer. If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may apply for a public defender.

For example, if you’ve been charged with a Simple Assault, your lawyer will review the evidence in your case & advise you of the following options:

Plead Guilty

You will have to admit what you did under oath. This option will leave you with a criminal conviction. It will stay on your record for 5 years before it can be expunged. And it will show up a background check.

Plead Guilty to a Downgraded Charge

This is one aspect of plea bargaining. Instead of admitting that you committed a simple assault against someone, we will work out a deal with the prosecutor where you plea guilty to a downgraded charge.

Go To Trial & Get Acquitted

This means that the Municipal court judge listened to all of the evidence & decided that you are not guilty of committing simple assault.

Go To Trial & Get Convicted

This means that the judge listened to all of the evidence & decided that you did commit simple assault.

Municipal Court - Do Not Miss It

Make certain to attend all court appearances. 

New Jersey Municipal court judges have the power to issue warrants for your arrest if you fail to appear when summoned to do so.

People mistakenly believe that the charge will go away with time.  This is not true. 

We have represented many clients who were stopped for a minor traffic offense and once the police officer asks for identification, the fifteen-year-old-warrant pops up and that client ends up in jail. 

Fines are increased, and the prosecutor is less willing to cooperate with a plea deal because you disrespected the court for so many years. 

People try to argue (unsuccessfully) that their address changed, or they moved to another state. 

Do the right thing and be responsible: show up to court!

To better help you, here’s the complete contact list for New Jersey Municipal Courts.

Final Thoughts

If you go to court alone and the Prosecutor is strongly recommending that you retain legal counsel, be polite and accept his suggestion. 

At a minimum, most defense attorneys offer free thirty-minute consultations.  Some attorneys even offer Free Case Evaluations.  Take advantage of these free offerings and learn about the strengths and weaknesses of your case.

If you exercise your right to a trial and are found guilty but disagree with the court’s decision, you have 20 days to appeal the conviction. 

Judges are human, and they can make mistakes.  Once you file your notice of appeal, a different judge, from a different court (Superior Court), will hear the evidence anew. perhaps on appeal, the superior court will reverse the lower court’s decision. 

​Again, before you invest a lot of time and money pursuing an appeal alone, meet with us to see how we can help you.

Our consultations are free.

If I'm convicted at trial, can I appeal?

Yes.

Although appeals can be expensive, it’s definitely worth the money to try.
If you feel that you didn’t get a fair trial or that certain evidence was irrelevant, an appeal is a way to go.
I highly recommend that you hire an aggressive, criminal lawyer to represent you for your appeal.
There are specific steps that must be taken to (intelligently) file an appeal.
Please do not try to do this alone, get help!

Our Experience

You or a loved one have been arrested. Understandably, you are terrified & have a lot of questions. You’ve heard about plea bargains & probation, but the process is overwhelming. You want a local attorney near you to represent you.

Mr. Peyrouton is from Ridgewood & handles all types of criminal matters in New Jersey The New Jersey Law Journal recently published one of his articles on the subject of criminal law.

How We Can Help

Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, we are here to defend & protect you. Whether you are facing a restraining order, drug charge, theft charge, or aggravated assault charge, we are here to help you. Even a DWI case can really complicate your life.

If we can’t get your charges dismissed, we can either get them downgraded or place you in a diversionary program. The point is, our criminal defense lawyers will fight tirelessly to get you the best result possible. Take advantage of our free consultation to see how we can help.

Our Practice Areas

Below, you will find a few of our practice areas.

Areas We Serve

Our Hackensack criminal lawyers represent clients in Bergen County & nearby counties & cities. 

Get Help With Your Case

How Do Your Free Consultations Work?

There are plenty of excellent Hackensack criminal lawyers in our area. Most, if not all of them, offer free, 20-minute, consultations. However, our free consultations do not have a time limit. You will never feel rushed.

The best way for us to help you is to patiently listen to your side of the story. Your version of events will serve as the basis for your legal defense. It is during these initial meetings that your memory of the event is fresh in your mind. Why we would rush you during such an important aspect of your case.

We understand that your choice of attorney could mean the difference between your freedom and spending years behind bars. 

When you hire an attorney, you are entering a long-term relationship. For this reason, it is important that you feel comfortable with the team of Hackensack criminal lawyers that will represent you.

What our clients say about us

Peyrouton Law
4.9
Based on 260 reviews
Christopher Guichardo
Christopher Guichardo
1714609513
Alan is an excellent lawyer. He helped me with my first case. He is very knowledgeable and explained everything to me throughout the process. I would recommend him to anyone looking for an honest and professional lawyer.
LGL Trucking Services LLC
LGL Trucking Services LLC
1714317166
Attorney Alan Peyrouton , hasta el día de hoy podría decir que es el mejor abogado que he visto y he conocido , nos ayudó con un caso que pensamos que iba a ser perdido , pensamos que era imposible conseguir ganarlo pero el nos ayudó a ganar un caso de DWI con licencia comercial CDL , estamos muy agradecidos con Alan en verdad un abogado muy profesional y con muchos conocimientos . Lo recomiendo a cualquiera que necesite ayuda profesional .
Ludimila Araujo
Ludimila Araujo
1714147877
My experience with Alan was amazing, I only have positive thinks to mention about him, he knows the law by heart, he speak Spanish, he’s more than smart, he’s a really good human being , he’s really polite, he’s responsible and dedicated to all his clients.My husbands case was really delicate, we were really afraid he would lose his license for a year, which is how we eat, since his a cdl driver, but thanks to Alan we can breathe and sleep peaceful at night, Alan is so good at his job that he got his case dismissed.His better than the lawyer from SUITS, he’s real!Thank you Alan you are amazing, the best of the best!If anyone needs a lawyer, a good lawyer call Alan!
Denisa Gjana
Denisa Gjana
1714083683
Alan is an excellent attorney, empathic and also caring. If you are looking for an attorney who is knowledgeable and knows what he is doing then don’t hesitate and hire him. His prices are reasonable and affordable. He got me out of the legal situation which was very stressful for me and I can’t thank him enough. He explained things thoroughly to me a few times and answered all of the questions and concerns I had. I highly recommend him! Thank you for being responsive and helpful Alan.
Cnidia Vazquez
Cnidia Vazquez
1713917822
Very profesional, makes the right questions during court.Muy profesional, meticuloso, amable, paciente e inteligente. Hizo un trabajo excepcional, el caso salio a mi favor gracias a su dedicacion y amor a su trabajo. Estoy muy agradecida por lo que hizo! Lo recomiendo 100%
Ronald Yee
Ronald Yee
1713913925
After almost four years ago, Payrouton Law, LLC. was engaged to defend the writer against a serious legal issue which could have ended with incarceration as well as a hefty fine. The settlementwas one-half of the posted fine without incarceration! In additionit was advised that within two years of the court decree, proceedings to get "Expungement," was possible making clean all N.J. State Police Records, as if the incident Never Happened.All this time working for and on my behalf, this law firm labored and negotiated all proceedings to gain benefit of a clean record.The N.J. State Police took almost two years and now receiving a verbal communication confirming Records Finally Expunged is all due to the hard work and legal expertise of Payrouton Law.One can not go wrong by retaining Payrouton Law, LLC. to solve legal problems and issues.This law firm is Exceedingly Outstanding In Every Way!!Thank you for all your hard work and efforts for and onmy behalf!!!Respectfully submitted,Ronald Yee- Client.
Maria Feliz
Maria Feliz
1713913413
Alan really helped me out of a delicate situation and made sure the final outcome was in my favor. I choose him based on prior reviews and took a chance and he turned out to be the real thing always looking out for his clients.
Jazziel Lopez
Jazziel Lopez
1713667840
Excellent lawyer , Alan was by far great help with my case. Thank you for being so responsive to my self and my fiancée when we needed help the most. He sure helped me solve my case I highly recommend Alan Payruton. The best of the best .
Michelle Lainez
Michelle Lainez
1713483854
Amazing lawyer, I am thankful and grateful for Alan words can’t explain how he help me and my finance at our most desperate moment. He made sure that we could count on him and assured us that he would make thing better which he did!!!I 💯 recommend him he will not let you down. Alan once again thank you for everything you have been a blessing!
Kyle Haller
Kyle Haller
1713481041
Alan was by far the most effective and professional lawyer i have ever delt with. He is extremely responsive and effective in conversation. It was a pleasure choosing him to defend me and I would recommend him to all my family and friends.
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