Municipal courts have jurisdiction over various matters, including motor vehicle and traffic violations, ordinance violations, disorderly and petty disorderly persons offenses and certain penalty enforcement actions, such as fish and game violations. The municipal courts also play a vital role in the indictable charges that ultimately end up in Superior Court. These charges are filed first in the municipal court, where a determination of probable cause is made, conditions of pretrial release are set, and preliminary arraignments held. The complaints are then forwarded to the county prosecutor’s office for possible grand jury action. Many indictable charges are downgraded to disorderly persons offenses and are heard in the municipal court.
Municipal courts have very limited juvenile jurisdiction such as jurisdiction to handle motor vehicle complaints involving minors and curfew violations. In addition to assessing fines and revoking various privileges, municipal court judges may imprison defendants for up to six months. There are no jury trials in municipal court.
Questions or comments concerning court operations in any of the municipal courts may be directed to the attention of the Municipal Division Manager. For more information regarding the Municipal Court within the Superior Court of New Jersey, click here.