ABOUT THE MUNICIPAL COURT
The Municipal Court is a quasi-criminal court of limited jurisdiction that is under the supervision of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC). The judicial staff of the Municipal Court are employees of the Township of Stafford but are governed by the rules of the court as determined by the State of New Jersey Supreme Court.
The original jurisdiction of all motor vehicle and criminal complaints is the Municipal Court. The Court hears all non-indictable cases such as disorderly person offenses, township ordinances, SPCA violations, Forest and Parks complaints, Weights and Measures infractions as well as all motor vehicle summonses including DWI violations. Although the more serious indictable complaints begin in the Municipal Court, they are forwarded to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office for disposition or remand.
If you receive a ticket / complaint, there will be a court date or pay by date indicating when you need to appear. If the ticket says "Court Date" the violation requires a court appearance so you must appear on that date or contact the court if you cannot appear. If you have a pay by date the violation does not require a court appearance and payment can be made by mail, in-person or via www.njmcdirect.com.
If you wish to contest the violation you will need to contact the court for a court date so you can get a new court date to appear. When you call the court, you will be asked for your case number; if you don't have the number you can search for that number online by visiting NJ Municipal Court Case Search. In addition to your case number, you will be asked to verify your name, address, phone number and email address. You will be provided a court date and will receive a confirming court notice / mailer. For most cases, the court date will be held virtually using Zoom. Therefore, in addition to the mailer you will receive a confirming email with instructions on how to join the virtual court session.
On the day of court, you will have the opportunity to speak to the municipal prosecutor. Please note the first appearance is a status conference and the complaining witness / officer may not be present at the hearing. If a plea agreement is reached that information will be provided to the Judge, in which time he will accept your guilty plea and the case will be disposed that same day. If an agreement is not reached, your case will be rescheduled to allow you or the state the opportunity to provide any further documentation needed or to allow you time to consult with an attorney. If you wish to have a trial, the case will be rescheduled to a future date, at which time all parties will be required to appear.
If you wish to be represented by an attorney, but are unable to afford to hire your attorney, you can apply for a public defender. Please complete the Financial Questionnaire to Establish Indigency and email or fax to the court.
For more information about court, please read YOUR DAY IN COURT brochure.
As per Administrative Office of the Court (AOC) rules, audio and video recording of the proceedings (both in-person and virtual) are strictly prohibited. If you would like a copy of the proceeding, please fill out a Judiciary Records Request form and forward same to the court. The form can also be used if you need a disposition of your case.