The municipal court is the court of the local municipality that handles all traffic tickets and non-indictable criminal offenses which are referred to as disorderly persons offenses. Traffic tickets include, but are not limited to, speeding tickets, careless and reckless driving, driving while suspended, and driving while intoxicated (DWI). Disorderly persons offenses are not considered crimes, but rather offenses that violate the criminal code. These offenses can consist of a small possession of marijuana, shoplifting charges, simple assault charges, harassment, and minor domestic violence incidents.
Many people represent themselves in municipal court as pro se defendants. However, pro se defendants usually do not obtain their desired outcome. Municipal court consists of a plea bargaining process in which many traffic tickets and disorderly persons offenses are downgraded to lesser offenses. For example, someone that has a disorderly persons offense without any prior record would most likely get it downgraded to a local fine which does not appear on someone’s criminal record. These downgrades can be key for someone applying for employment, admission into schools, and for loans. Any criminal record can disqualify this person from many opportunities and can have severe lifetime consequences. Due to these risks, it is very important to have an experienced attorney guide a defendant through this process. The same scenario applies for traffic violations. Attorneys can negotiate pleas with the prosecutor such as removing points from a driving record, preventing a suspension, or even jail time for multiple driving infractions. Having an attorney also expedites the process allowing the defendant to spend minimal time in court and carry on with their day.
Even if a person is found guilty of a criminal offense, that criminal offense can be removed from someone’s record after a certain period of time which is called an expungement. Applying for an expungement has become a complicated process since the laws not only require a person to get approval from law enforcement for an expungement, but also require the person to certify how they have contributed positively to society since the criminal offense. We will help you overcome these legal hurdles by filing a thorough petition for expungement, and removing your criminal record.
The Law Firm of Richard C. Sciria will provide legal advice and a free consultation for anyone that has a traffic ticket or a disorderly persons offense in the municipal court. Our firm will also provide the appropriate guidance and advise of your potential fines and penalties for the municipal court ticket or offense.