Clifton Municipal Court – Clifton, NJ

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil matters inside its location. These courts can be found at the city or county tier.

Clifton Municipal Court INformation

Court: Clifton Municipal Court
Address: “900 Clifton Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07013”
Phone: 973-470-5860

City: Clifton
County: Passaic
State: New Jersey

What is the purpose of the Clifton Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Clifton Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

On the other hand, the purpose of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family matters, injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that won’t exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felonies and larger civil matters.

TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Clifton, New Jersey

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courts in the U.S.. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better service their citizens or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level crimes and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor versus a felony, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor charges and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

how are cases managed in the municipal court in Clifton?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known city courts or town courts. Cases are handled by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to help for a specific time.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against individuals by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to establish if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal court case can be complicated. The following material is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when a person has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons from the court will need to be present at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to respond after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Clifton, NJ

Penalties change often, which is why it’s best to speak with licensed lawyer. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be accurate for the Clifton Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can possess penalties up to $1,000.00 or one year in local jail. A person’s driving privileges may be suspended for six months if they receive three speeding tickets within 12 months.

The penalties for different charges in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Clifton Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Clifton Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Clifton, New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Clifton, New Jersey?

Depending on the area of the municipality, a municipal court can handle a civil division (cases with less than  $15,000 at issue), a traffic/criminal division, or a housing and environmental division. Serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Clifton Municipal Court have?

The count of judges depends on the municipality’s population.

How are cases heard in municipal courts in New Jersey?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted according to population. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete several hours of ongoing material every year to maintain their licenses.