This post will briefly summarize your rights in the Municipal Courts of New Jersey. Indeed, as an independent branch of government constitutionally entrusted with the fair and just resolution of disputes, the judiciary preserves the rule of law and protects the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of New Jersey. In addition to sentencing defendants, people who do not come to court when summoned or subpoenaed, make payments as required, or comply with other requirements of their sentences, face additional punishments including fines, drivers’ license suspension, arrest, and jail. Therefore, to protect your rights in the Municipal Courts of New Jersey, call me at (856) 812-0321.
Your Rights in the Municipal Courts of New Jersey
- You have the right to a presumption of innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The State carries the burden of proof.
- You have the right to be informed of the charges against you. This is the right to notice.
- You have the right to remain silent concerning the charges against you. Anything you say may be held against you. Indeed, the privilege against self-incrimination is one of the few rights a defendant personally controls.
- You have the right to retain an attorney. This is the right to counsel.
- You have the right to an assigned attorney under certain circumstances. This applies to those who qualify as indigent.
- You have the right to request a reasonable postponement to consult with your attorney and prepare a proper defense.
- You have the right to a trial. This is the second right a defendant personally controls. You may also plead guilty to traffic offenses, disorderly persons offenses, and ordinances.
- You have the right to testify or not to testify in your behalf. This is the final right a defendant personally controls.
- You have the right to call or subpoena witnesses to testify in your behalf.
- You have the right to confront the witnesses who testify against you. This takes place during cross-examination.
- You have the right to appeal within 20 days of any conviction.
You have the right to an appointed attorney if the State charged you with:
- An indictable offense and the Judge determines you cannot afford an attorney, or
- A non-indictable offense and the Judge determines you cannot afford an attorney and there is a likelihood that if you are convicted you will either go to jail, receive a substantial fine, or your driver’s license will be suspended.
Your Responsibilities in the Municipal Courts of New Jersey
- Prior to entering the courtroom, please turn off or silence your phone or pager.
- When you get to court, check in with court staff.
- Listen to instructions from court staff and from the judge. The proceedings are sound recorded, so please remain quiet until it is your time to speak.
- The judge will give an opening statement explaining court procedures, defendants’ rights and penalties.
Cases are usually called in the following order:
- Requests for postponements,
- Uncontested motions,
- First arraignments,
- Guilty pleas,
- Contested motions,
- Pleas of not guilty (with attorney),
- Pleas of not guilty (without attorney).
New Jersey Municipal Defense Lawyer Michael Smolensky, Esquire, knows how to protect his clients. A charge in Municipal Court calls for an aggressive defense, and Mr. Smolensky can provide consultations for all such cases. Call Now—(856) 812-0321.