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PREPARING FOR COURT

Prior to Your Court Date:  

  • Whenever you contact or appear in court, it is important to have the information notifying you of your docket or indictment number, date to appear and the location of the courtroom in which you are scheduled to appear. If you have an attorney, you should meet with him/her to discuss your case.
  • If you have questions about the court date or judge in a Criminal case, go to Room 1012 in the Veterans Courthouse or call 973-693-5965.
  • If you have questions about the court date or judge in a Civil case, go to Room 201 in the Hall of Records or call 973-693-5529.
  • If you have questions about the court date or judge in a Family case, go to the specific Family Division office that is handling your case or call 973-693-6678.
  • If you need an interpreter or an accommodation for a disability, you must notify the court as soon as possible. Information about the availability of special services and assistance can be obtained by calling 973-693-5701 or the Information and Community Relations Center at 973-693-5774 or 5725.
  • You can learn more about the rules governing the practice, procedure and administration of the state’s courts in the New Jersey Rules of Court, which can be found in public libraries and on the judiciary web site at njcourtsonline.com in the “Legal Reference Desk” section.

On the Day of Your Court Appearance

  • Arrive on time. If you are late, the judge may postpone, dismiss or decide your case in your absence.
  • When you enter the court complex, you will be screened by Essex County Sheriff’s Department personnel. Please remove all metal objects that will activate the metal detector (including keys, coins, cell phones, cigarette packs, foil wrappers and large buckles). If the metal detector activates as you pass through, the Officer will use a hand-held metal detector to screen you.

Note: Purses and other carried items, such as briefcases and backpacks, will be x-rayed. Leave pocket knives, scissors, pepper spray, etc. at home or in your vehicle. All weapons and potential safety hazards will be confiscated. In addition, glass bottles are not allowed into the building.

Cameras and recording devices are prohibited without prior permission from the Trial Court Administrator’s Office.

  • Bring your court notice with you as it contains your case information.
  • If you are unsure of where you are supposed to report, you should speak to the employee at the Information Desk. There are Information Desks on the first floor of the Wilentz Justice Complex and the Veterans Courthouse.
  •  When entering the courtroom, remove all hats and turn off all cell phones and pagers.
  • Do not bring any food or beverages into the courtroom.
  • Upon arriving in court, notify the Sheriff’s Officer of your arrival and your case number.
  • When your name or case number is announced, move to the front of the courtroom.
  • If you need additional time to prepare your case, you may ask the judge to grant you an adjournment. An adjournment is the postponement of a session, hearing, trial or other proceeding to another date or time. It is within the judge’s discretion to grant or deny an adjournment.
  • While addressing the court, you must use appropriate language. Address the judge as “Your Honor” and speak directly to the judge and not to the other party.
  • If you have any documents to present to the judge, you should give it the Sheriff’s Officer who will give it to the judge.
  • You should not interrupt the opposing party while he or she is speaking. After the other party is finished speaking you or your lawyer may request an opportunity from the judge to respond. An opportunity to respond is left to the judge’s discretion.
  • After each party has presented his or her side, the judge or jury will make a decision.
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