Elizabeth Municipal Court – Elizabeth, NJ

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes within its location. These courts can be found at the city or county tier.

Elizabeth Municipal Court INformation

Court: Elizabeth Municipal Court
Address: “One Police Plaza, Elizabeth, NJ 07201”
Phone: 908-558-6800

City: Elizabeth
County: Union
State: New Jersey

What is the purpose of the Elizabeth Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courts like Elizabeth Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

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

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can not exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Elizabeth, New Jersey

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their population or to save money on costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

You will not find a standard for what constitutes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony case, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor crimes 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 Elizabeth?

Municipal courts are the first 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 a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to serve for a specific time.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to seize evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to learn if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The common process of a municipal court case can be complicated. The next portion is an overview of the steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is given when a person has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The person who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 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 person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Elizabeth, NJ

Penalties change often, which is why it’s best to speak with licensed attorney near you. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Elizabeth Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can carry penalties up to $1k or one year in 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 crimes in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Elizabeth Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may 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 before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Elizabeth Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Elizabeth, New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a town or municipality. Municipal courts have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanor crimes.

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

Depending on the scope 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. More serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Elizabeth Municipal Court have?

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

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 retirement. Judges are commonly elected by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted based on population. Municipal magistrates are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must finish many hours of ongoing courses every year to maintain their credentials.