South Plainfield Municipal Court – South Plainfield, NJ

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive area of authority over criminal offenses and civil matters within its area. These courts can be located at the county or city level.

South Plainfield Municipal Court INformation

Court: South Plainfield Municipal Court
Address: “2480 Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield, NJ 07080”
Phone: 908-226-7651

City: South Plainfield
County: Middlesex
State: New Jersey

What is the purpose of the South Plainfield Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic tickets. Courts like South Plainfield Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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, accident cases, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.

County courthouses 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 matters and bigger civil matters.

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

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts 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 service their citizens or to save money on administrative costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what establishes 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 is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in South Plainfield?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as city courts or town courts. Matters are handled 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 period of time.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

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

The usual process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is sent when a person has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The person who has received the court summons will need to be present at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: 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 South Plainfield, 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 100% accurate for the South Plainfield Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge can carry penalties up to $1,000.00 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 charges in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

South Plainfield 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 a person might need to depend on the matter they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the South Plainfield Municipal Court

What is municipal court in South Plainfield, New Jersey?

In New Jersey, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters 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 misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in South Plainfield, 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 South Plainfield 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 retirement. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results judged based on population. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete many hours of continuing education every year to maintain their credentials.