Washington Township Municipal Court – Washington Township, NJ

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Washington Township Municipal Court INformation

Court: Washington Township Municipal Court
Address: “350 Hudson Avenue, Washington Township, NJ 07676”
Phone: 201-664-2488

City: Washington Township
County: Bergen
State: New Jersey

What is the purpose of the Washington Township Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic violations. Courts like Washington Township Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

On the other hand, the purpose of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve divorce or other family matters, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, 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 felony matters and more expansive civil cases.

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Washington Township, 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 places share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better assist their citizens or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level crimes and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony crime, 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Washington Township?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic violations, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Cases are managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to serve for a specific time.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court case.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when someone has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court will need to be present at their assigned time and place, 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 $1,000.00 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Show Up before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to show up after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Washington Township, 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 Washington Township Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can have 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 offenses in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Washington Township 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 case they have before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Washington Township Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Washington Township, New Jersey?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Washington Township, 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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Washington Township 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 court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated according to population. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of ongoing courses every period to maintain their credentials.