Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint Municipal Court – Wantage, NJ

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its area. These courts can be found at the city or county tier.

Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint Municipal Court INformation

Court: Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint Municipal Court
Address: “888 Route 23, Wantage, NJ 07461”
Phone: 973-875-7310

City: Wantage
County: Sussex
State: New Jersey

What is the purpose of the Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic tickets. Courts like Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint 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 charges, or breaches of contract.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felonies and larger civil matters.

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

Municipal courts are the bottom rung 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 serve their population or to save money on administrative costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, criminal misdemeanors and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony charge, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanors and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

how are cases managed in the municipal court in Wantage?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called 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 serve for a specific period of time.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

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

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal courthouse case can be difficult to navigate. The following material is an overview of the most common steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when a person has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The individual who has received the summons from the court will need to show up at their assigned time and courthouse, 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 $1,000.00 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Wantage, 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 Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can possess penalties up to $1k 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 courts vary depending on the severity of an charges. 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.

Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could 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 matter they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Wantage, New Jersey?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Wantage, 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 Wantage/Sussex/Stillwater Joint Municipal Court have?

The count 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 duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by the people with each precinct’s results judged according to the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete many hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their credentials.