Municipal Court FAQ

Posted in FAQ

How do I file a plea of "Not Guilty"?

If you intend to plead not guilty to a Summons and Complaint and have a trial, you must notify the Court at the telephone number are shown above, of your intention at least 7 days prior to your scheduled court date. If you fail to notify the Court, it may be necessary for you to make two court appearances. 

What is "Court Appearance Required"?

If "Court Appearance Required" is checked on your Summons and Complaint you must appear in court at the time and place indicated, even if you wish to plead guilty. If "Court Appearance Required" is not checked on your Summons and Complaint you must still appear in court if: a) you wish to have a trial; or b) the charge is not listed on the State or Local (Supplemental) Violations Bureau Schedule. Plea of Guilty: Payment Through Violations Bureau You may plead guilty and pay the penalty, if the check box “Court Appearance Required” has not been checked on the reverse side and the offense is payable without the necessity of court appearance. You may either sign onto www.njmcdirect.com to determine if the offense is payable and the amount of the penalty or telephone the court.

The Middlesex borough Court’s ID is “1211”

The violations payment windows is open to the public from 9:00 A.M. and 4:00 P.M. Monday - Friday. Payments can be made by credit card (VISA and MasterCard only), however, they must be made in person. Credit card payments are not accepted over the phone.

What happens in court?

When you appear in court, the Judge will explain the process and procedures. You will also be given instructions regarding attorneys and the Public Defender.

Do I need to retain an attorney, or can I have the Public Defender?

It is your choice to retain or consult an attorney. If you find you cannot afford an attorney, you may apply for the Public Defender. The Public Defender is only available to a defendant who meets specific indigency guidelines and who has been charged with a serious criminal or traffic offense with a consequence of magnitude.

Consequences of Magnitude:

  1. Any sentence of imprisonment
  2. Any suspension of driver’s license
  3. Any fines and penalties totaling more than $750.00

How do I get the Public Defender?

If you believe you are eligible for a Public Defender, you must fill out the required forms. The Judge will review your application and determine if you meet the criteria. You will meet with your Public Defender at the time of your court appearance. There will be a fee of up to $200.00 commensurate with your ability to pay.

What happens when I enter a plea of Not Guilty?

If you plead not guilty, the Judge will preside over a trial to determine whether you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a trial, the prosecutor will first call the state’s witness (witness against you). They will answer the prosecutor’s questions and present any other evidence they have. When the prosecutor is finished with each witness, you, or your attorney, will be permitted to ask them questions about their testimony.

When the prosecutor’s case is complete, it will be your turn to call witnesses and present evidence on your behalf. You may testify, although you are not required to do so. If you testify, the prosecutor can ask you questions (cross-examine you). After all witnesses and evidence have been presented, the Judge will decide whether you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, the Judge will impose a sentence.

How long will I be at court?

Court may last from three (3) to six (6) hours. First, the Judge makes his opening remarks. After the Judge calls the roll, he gives every defendant a chance to talk to the prosecutor. He then calls the attorney cases as they become available, which is mandated by the State of New Jersey, Rules of the Court. The remaining cases will be handled as they become ready.

What is a plea agreement?

A plea agreement is a way to settle a case. Plea agreements are negotiated with the prosecutor. You will be given the opportunity to speak to the prosecutor to try to settle your case. You are not required to speak to the prosecutor. All plea agreements must be approved by the Judge.

What if I plead guilty in court?

If you plead guilty in court, the Judge will ask questions regarding the offense charged to make sure there are facts to support the guilty plea and determine that your plea is voluntary. The Judge will then make a finding and impose a sentence. If you plead guilty or are found guilty of traffic offenses in court, the penalties listed on the Violations Schedule do not apply.

Please note that if you plead guilty in court, you have effectively waived your right to a trial. You have admitted that you have violated the law. However, you may then explain to the Judge any extenuating circumstances. The Judge will impose sentence.

If I am found guilty, what happens after court?

You will be required to pay all monetary penalties, as ordered by the Judge. Under certain circumstances, the court may permit you to pay over a period of time. You will be given instructions on how to comply with any other parts of your sentence.

How can I appeal a decision of the court?

If you disagree with the Judge’s decision, you may appeal, but if you appeal, you must file the appeal within 20 calendar days of your conviction. You will be required to pay a deposit that will be applied against the cost of preparing a transcript of the trial. You will also be required to pay a $75.00 filing fee. Please ask the court staff to provide you with a copy of the appeal packet, “How to Appeal a Decision of a Municipal Court.” Information on representing yourself in an appeal is also available at www.njcourtsonline.com, the Judiciary’s website.

What do I do if there is a warrant out for my arrest?

During regular business hours, post bail at the court office. After hours, bail may be posted at your local police department or any other police department in the State of New Jersey. If you do not post bail, you may be subject to arrest at any time by any police officer.

Tags: Municipal FAQ