Howell Township Municipal Court – Howell, NJ

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil matters inside its geographic area. These courts can be found at the county or city level.

Howell Township Municipal Court INformation

Court: Howell Township Municipal Court
Address: “300 Old Tavern Road, Howell, NJ 07731”
Phone: 732-938-4848

City: Howell
County: Monmouth
State: New Jersey

What is the role of the Howell Township Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Howell Township Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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 law matters, personal injury, more serious criminal charges, 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 bigger civil matters.

TYPES OF Legal Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Howell, New Jersey

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses in the U.S.. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some places share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better service their people or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, small criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not find a standard for what constitutes a misdemeanor charge 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 Howell?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic violations, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as city courts or town courts. Matters are managed by a magistrate who is usually a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to assist for a specific time period.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary inquiries to learn if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when an individual has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The individual who has received the summons will need to appear at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Show Up 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 Howell, NJ

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1000 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 courthouses vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Howell Township Municipal Court Records

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

Questions ABOUT the Howell Township Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Howell, 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 area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanor crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in Howell, 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. Serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Howell Township 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 court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted according to the number of people. Municipal magistrates are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete many hours of continuing material every period to maintain their licenses.