Highland Park Municipal Court – Highland Park, NJ

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive area of authority over criminal offenses and civil disputes within its location. These courts can be found at the county or city tier.

Highland Park Municipal Court INformation

Court: Highland Park Municipal Court
Address: “221 South 5th Avenue, Highland Park, NJ 08904”
Phone: 732-777-6010

City: Highland Park
County: Middlesex
State: New Jersey

What is the purpose of the Highland Park Municipal Court?

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

In other situations, the purpose of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family law matters, accident cases, more serious criminal charges, or breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Highland Park, 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 assist their people or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony case, 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Highland Park?

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

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

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

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal courthouse case can be difficult to navigate. The following is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court case.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when a person has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to be present at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they never appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail term 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 Highland Park, NJ

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge can carry penalties up to $1000 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 crimes 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 will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Highland Park Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of case they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Highland Park Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Highland Park, New Jersey?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Highland Park, 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 Highland Park Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in New Jersey?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish several hours of continuing education every period to maintain their licenses.