Ridgewood Municipal Court – Ridgewood, NJ

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Ridgewood Municipal Court INformation

Court: Ridgewood Municipal Court
Address: “131 North Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ 07450”
Phone: 201-670-5544

City: Ridgewood
County: Bergen
State: New Jersey

What is the role of the Ridgewood Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Ridgewood Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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 matters, accident cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can not exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felonies and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Ridgewood, New Jersey

Municipal courts are the entry level of courts in the United States. 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 assist their people or to save money on expenditures. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level criminal charges and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor charge 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Ridgewood?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as 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 members to assist for a specific period of 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 protect evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to learn if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal court case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when someone has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons from the court will need to appear at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail term 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Ridgewood, NJ

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can possess penalties up to $1,000.00 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 charges 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 will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Ridgewood Municipal Court Records

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

Common Questions ABOUT the Ridgewood Municipal Court

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

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

Depending on the size 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 Ridgewood Municipal Court have?

The number 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 term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by the people with each precinct’s results weighted according to population. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish many hours of ongoing courses every period to maintain their licenses.