NorthJersey.com recently published an extensive expose about the controversial practices of New Jersey’s municipal court system. In particular, the article focused on how municipal courts throughout the state are designed to generate revenue, and how, as a result, residents can get trapped into paying hundreds of dollars in fines for minor offenses.
The article paints a bleak picture and implies that, even with legal counsel, there is little hope for a dismissal or plea bargain. Thankfully, this assessment is not universal to all cases and charges. There are many times when municipal charges demand the aid of a skilled lawyer and where an experienced attorney can significantly impact the consequences of the charge. Here are just a few examples of when New Jerseyans should contact a lawyer before facing what the article refers to as the “court cash machine.”
- Traffic violations. An attorney can negotiate to a lesser violation or a non-moving violation, or even get the ticket dismissed altogether. The value goes beyond avoiding the many fines and fees associated with a ticket. Each violation can add points to your license and too many points can lead to a suspension. In addition, depending on the severity of the violation and your past driving history, you could also face jail time and significantly increased insurance rates.
- Simple assault. While indictable cases of assault are moved to the county prosecutor’s office, minor cases are heard before the superior court. Simple assault is defined as knowingly or negligently causing bodily harm to a person or inducing fear of bodily harm. A conviction can result in up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,000.
- Possession of CDS/drug charges. Possession of relatively small amounts of controlled dangerous substances (CDS) is heard before the municipal court. Consequences include jail time, loss of license (if applicable), and a criminal record. A conviction could also have lasting implications for future employment.
- Public intoxication or intoxication as a minor. Both charges, while separate, come with a fine of between $500 and $1,000, as well as possible jail time of up to six months. Underage drinking can also result in a suspended license.
- Presenting a false ID. For adults this is a serious crime. However, juveniles caught presenting a fake ID will be prosecuted in municipal court. A conviction could result in up to 6 months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. You could also have your license suspended.
No matter how bleak you think your case may be, it is essential that you consult an attorney before facing a municipal judge. The lawyers of the Rosenblum Law Firm are skilled criminal defense attorneys with experience helping people in similar situations. Email the Rosenblum Law Firm or call 888-815-3649 today for a free consultation about your case.