At the municipal level, there are 539 municipal courts statewide with 330 presiding judges. These courts are operated by the city, township or borough where the court is located. The presiding judge of Ocean County Municipal Courts is the Honorable James A. Liguori. More detailed information regarding the Ocean County municipal court system can be found on the New Jersey Courts website: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/mcs/index.htm.
The Municipal Division of the Ocean Vicinage maintains Ocean County’s 33 municipal courts. Indictable crimes, often called felonies in other states, are sent to the County Prosecutor to be heard in Superior Court. Once there, the Prosecutor’s Office decides to either present the charge to a grand jury or return it to the appropriate municipal court as a downgraded offense.
Matters Heard at the Municipal Court Level
Disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses (called misdemeanors in other jurisdictions), traffic offenses and other violations are heard in the municipal court located in the town where the offense took place. Examples of cases that appear in Ocean County’s municipal courts are simple assault, trespassing, shoplifting and even minor neighborly disputes. Any domestic violence complaints that end up in municipal court may be transferred to the family division of the Superior Court.
The Municipal Division of the Ocean Vicinage has a volunteer-based mediation program to help resolve noise, pet and property complaints as a more time efficient alternative to the traditional route of litigation. It is the Municipal Division that assists in the administration of the municipal courts throughout Ocean County. After a decision has been rendered at the municipal court level, it can be appealed to the appropriate New Jersey Superior Court within 20 days of conviction.
Hire an Ocean County Lawyer to Postpone Your First Appearance
It is important to answer summonses at the municipal court level, as failure to do so either by an appearance in court or the payment of a fine may result in the court taking additional action. For example, the court could issue a warrant for an arrest, financial penalties or the suspension of driving privileges when there is a failure to appear. If you hire a lawyer to represent you in your Ocean County municipal court matter, the judge is more likely to postpone your first court date upon the lawyer’s request, giving you and your attorney time to prepare your case.
The following pages list municipal court information for the towns in Ocean County, NJ in which we offer legal representation. You can also find information on the Ocean County legal services provided by Villani & DeLuca in each of these municipalities.