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A court appearance is always required for criminal matters (assault, shoplifting, harassment, drug charges). In traffic or other matters, if "court appearance required" is checked on the ticket, you must appear in court on the date and time indicated even if you wish to plead guilty. If "court appearance required" is not checked on the traffic ticket, you must still appear in court if:
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You must call the Court. Please have your ticket number available.
The court does not assess points. You must contact the Motor Vehicle Commission in the state in which you have a license. Learn more about this on the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission Website.
Your payment is due by the date at the bottom of the summons (where it says "court date") unless "Court Appearance Required" is checked off or if the statute is mandatory court appearance required.
Payment can be made by mail (the address is located on the top right of the summons) or you can pay your ticket online on the New Jersey Courts Website.
Learn about this on the Eligibility Criteria for a Public Defender Page.
The municipal court staff cannot advise you if an attorney is needed.
If you plead guilty in court, the judge will:
If you plead guilty or are found guilty in court, the penalties listed on the Violations Bureau Schedule do not apply.
If you plead not guilty, the judge will preside over a trial to determine whether you are guilty or not guilty. The trial may be held that day, but in certain circumstances it may be rescheduled.
You will be required to pay all monetary penalties, as ordered by the judge. Under certain circumstances, the judge may permit you to pay over a period of time. You will be given instructions on how to comply with any other parts of your sentence.
If you disagree with the judge's decision, you may appeal. The appeal must be filed within 20 calendar days of your conviction. Please contact the municipal court to obtain a copy of the appeal packet (PDF) and information on the fees involved.
Plea agreements are negotiated with the prosecutor, an attorney who represents the state. You will be given the opportunity to speak with the prosecutor to try to settle your case. You are not required to speak to the prosecutor. All plea agreements must be approved by the judge.
People face additional punishment, such as a fine, suspension of driver's license, arrest and/or jail time if they do not come to court when:
A warrant can be issued for nonpayment or failure to appear in court. Once issued, bail can be posted at any police department in New Jersey, by mail or in person at the municipal court. In some cases, a bail waiver can be signed which waives your right to a court appearance.
A records request form (PDF) must be submitted to the court with the appropriate fee to obtain a disposition. A disposition with the raised seal has a $10 fee, without the raised seal is $5 per summons/complaint.