Somerville Municipal Court – Bridgewater, NJ

Oct 26, 2021

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

Somerville Municipal Court INformation

Court: Somerville Municipal Court
Address: “100 Commons Way, Bridgewater, NJ 08807”
Phone: 908-725-6375

City: Bridgewater
County: Somerset
State: New Jersey

What is the purpose of the Somerville Municipal Court?

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

In other situations, 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, injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.

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 felony cases and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Bridgewater, 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 locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

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

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony, 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 handled in the municipal court in Bridgewater?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known 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 help for a specific time.

Judges manage 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
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is sent when a person has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The individual who has received the court summons 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 fail to 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.

Step Two: 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 Bridgewater, NJ

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can carry penalties up to $1k 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 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 $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Somerville Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the matter they have before 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 Somerville Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Bridgewater, New Jersey?

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

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

How many judges does the Somerville 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 term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted based on the number of people. Municipal magistrates are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete many hours of ongoing material every period to maintain their credentials.