The most common types of New Jersey Municipal Court cases are driving violations.
Driving violations range from the simple parking tickets to the more serious DUI/DWI case, which can have devastating effects on your finances, life and family. You should not attempt to handle on your own any Municipal Court matter that carries serious consequences for various reasons. All moving violations carry with them the imposition of points on your driver’s license if convicted. As the Judge in your case will explain at the outset, to the entire courtroom, the point system is administered by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and not the Court. This is important because the average self-represented defendant usually expects that “guilty with an explanation” is somehow going to save them from the driver’s license point assessment. It does not. In fact, it will quite often have the opposite effect for reasons that might surprise you.
The Prosecutors and Judges serving in Municipal Courts do so for minimal pay and do so out of a sense of service and duty to their communities. They take their positions very serious and rightfully so. Therefore, when a defendant appears before them on a charge with potential severe consequences and they are unrepresented by an attorney, it quite often and not surprisingly implies that the defendant is not taking the matter serious. This is one of the worst things you can do if you hope to get any leniency or consideration from the Court. You will most likely be advised that if you cannot afford an attorney one may be appointed to you should you qualify. This aims to ensure that you think twice before going it alone. And that is precisely the time that you need to say, “Yes, I would like to obtain my own attorney” or “I would like to apply for a Public Defender.” Regardless of which you qualify for, this is the time to remember the old adage: “The person who represents himself, has a fool for a client”. This is not to imply that no one should or could ever represent themselves in Court, but that it gives the wrong impression. This keeps you from representing yourself as well as a professional advocate by your side would. One who not only knows the law, but sometimes, more importantly, knows the Prosecutor and the Judge!
An attorney can usually persuade the Prosecutor or the Judge to reduce or eliminate most or all of the points that you may be facing. (See Point Schedule) In addition, the fines and penalties may also be minimized with the assistance of a competent and experienced attorney. In other words, you should not attempt to represent yourself, especially if the violation carries serious consequences. Call Mr. Montero for a free in-office consultation. He will provide you with an assessment of your case and explain all the possible outcomes. Mr. Montero has fair and reasonable rates and will handle your case with the utmost care.