In Ocean County Municipal Court, the New Jersey Rules fall under PART VII — RULES GOVERNING PRACTICE IN THE MUNICIPAL COURTS Click Here to View the Rules.
If you have received a summons in Municipal Court it is always best practice to retain an Attorney, such as one here Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC.
If you cannot afford to retain an Attorney, request that a Public Defender be assigned to your case, you must do so in court.
The judge will require that you fill out a form listing your assets and income. The judge will review your application and discuss it with you. If the judge assigns the Public Defender, he can assess a fee of up to $200
The Anatomy of Municipal Bench Trial
- Your Attorney or the Prosecutor offer pretrial motions. These motions will deal with some aspect of evidence, admissibility of evidence or some other issue the prosecution or defense feels is important to their case; followed by
- Opening statements are offered about the case. The Defense Attorney goes first followed by the prosecutor; followed by
- The prosecutor presents its case including testimony and direct evidence. The Defense Attorney will raise any objections to the State’s evidence and cross examine the prosecutor’s witnesses. ; followed by
- Your Defense Attorney presents your case including the testimony of your witnesses, admission of evidence, etc; followed by
- The prosecution cross examines your witnesses and expert witnesses (if any); followed by
- At the conclusion of the state’s case and your case, motions for judgment of acquittal are made by your Defense Attorney; followed by
- Summations are given to the court. Your Defense Attorney will go first and the prosecutor after that. In each of their summations the attorneys addresses the evidence, or lack thereof, and the facts of the case; followed by
- The Judge gives his/her decision for an acquittal or guilty. Under the Court Rules, the Judge must give the reasons which caused him or her to come to their decision. This is generally done verbally in open court and on the record. Sometimes the Judge reserves their decision for a reasonable period of time to come to a decision; followed by
- If convicted, your Defense Attorney and the prosecutor recommend to the Judge the sentence that he/she should be impose; then you can
- An appeal of the Judge’s decision is filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court