I RECEIVED A TICKET/COMPLAINT, NOW WHAT DO I DO?
Frequently Asked Questions
- 1) Do I need to appear in court if I choose to plead guilty and pay the fine?
- If the “Court Appearance Required” box has NOT been checked on the summons AND if the charge is listed on either the Statewide Violations Bureau Schedule or the Local Violations Bureau Schedule, you may pay the fine without appearing in court. The Statewide Violations Bureau Schedule is a list of state offenses that may be paid without going to court. The Local Violations Schedule is a list of municipal ordinances that may be paid without going to court. You may pay your fine at the court's payment window, by mail, by using the Internet at www.NJMCdirect.com, or you may make your payment via phone with a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover card by dialing (908) 534-2414 and speaking directly to a staff member. Please do not email any credit card information to the Municipal Court. This is to ensure your safety and confidentiality. If you pay without going to court, you will be pleading guilty and giving up your right to a lawyer and your right to a trial.
**Court appearances are always required in criminal matters.
- 2) If I can plead guilty without going to court, how much will I have to pay?
- The amount of the fine is in the Statewide or Local Violations Bureau Schedules. These schedules are available for review at the Municipal Court office. The Statewide Violations Bureau Schedule is also posted on the Internet at www.njcourtsonline.com. You may also call the Municipal Court office and ask directly.
- 3) If I wish to pay my ticket, what information will you need from me?
- If you decide to pay your summons over the telephone, or at the Municipal Court office, you will be asked to have your summons number available. This can be found at the top of your ticket. In the event you do not have your summons number, a New Jersey driver's license number, date of birth, and/or full name can be used in place of same. If you wish to pay your summons via the Internet, you will be asked for your ticket number (prefix included), your license plate number and the court code, which for Readington Township is 1022. Please note www.NJMCdirect.com is not capable of taking payments for criminal complaints, already on a time payment, via the internet, at this time. If you decide to mail in your payment, you do NOT need to send your ticket with your payment. Simply include the ticket number on your check or money order.
- 4) If I wish to plead not guilty to my ticket, how do I do it?
- There are several ways to enter your plea of not guilty on your summons. You can call the Municipal Court office at (908) 534-2414 and speak directly to a staff member. You may email the Municipal Court office at the email address provided at the top of this Internet page. You may also use the “Questions/Comments” email box provided on this Internet page. If you wish to mail or fax your not guilty plea, you may do so at the address and/or fax number provided at the top of this Internet page. For more information on the procedures to follow on your court/trial date, please refer to the “What To Expect On Your Day In Court” link, on this Internet page.
- 5) What happens when the court's orders are not obeyed?
- People who do not come to court when summoned or subpoenaed, make payments as required, or comply with other requirements of their sentences, face additional punishments including fines, drivers' license suspensions, arrest and/or jail.
- 6) What is a warrant? What is bail? If a warrant has been issued for my arrest, how do I take care of it?
- Warrants are typically issued by the Judge during a court session when a defendant has missed
his/her trial date, with no prior request for an adjournment, or documentation of reason for absence. The amount of money the Judge issues a warrant for is called bail. BAIL IS NEVER MEANT TO BE A PUNISHMENT OF ANY KIND. It is simply to ensure your presence at future court dates. Bail can be posted at the Municipal Court office, by mail, by telephone with the Municipal Court office, or it can be posted at any police department in the State of New Jersey. If your bail is posted in another township, it is transferred to this court by mail. This will take a few days to receive and post, so please contact this office immediately with your information, so we can recall the warrant. Once bail is received by the Municipal Court office, you will be scheduled for a first appearance date, at which time you will make your plea of Guilty or Not Guilty to the Judge, on the record in open court. Upon disposition of your summons or complaint, bail money that was previously posted, is returned to the surety within 2 business days via US Postal Service. If you wish to personally pick up your returned bail monies, please advise the court staff on your court date, and they will make arrangements for you do so. If your summons or complaint is disposed with fines imposed by the Judge, and you have bail posted, you may apply the bail posted to these fines, if you wish. If someone other than yourself has posted this bail for you, identification is required of the surety and a form must be signed by same, in order to apply bail to your fines.
- 7) What happens if I plead guilty in court?
- If you plead guilty in court, the judge will ask questions regarding the offense charged to make sure there are facts to support the guilty plea and to determine that your plea is voluntary. The judge will then make a finding and impose a sentence. If you plead guilty or are found guilty of traffic offenses in court, the penalties listed on the Violations Bureau Schedule do not apply.
- 8) How can I apply for a public defender?
- If you wish to apply for the public defender, you may do so on your first appearance date in the Municipal Court. When the judge asks you how you are pleading to your charge(s), he will ask you if you are seeking private legal representation or if you wish to apply for the public defender. At that time, he will give you the opportunity to retrieve the public defender application from the payment window of the Municipal Court office, fill it out, and turn it in to the court officer in the front of the courtroom. Your file will be pulled, and the judge will call you to the podium, and review your application. If you qualify, he will grant you the public defender, and advise you that a letter will be mailed to you containing the address and phone number of the public defender, of which you must contact before your trial date, which will also be listed in the letter. There may be an application fee assessed of up to $200.00. That application fee is non-refundable, and is made payable to the Readington Township Municipal Court. This fee is due approximately one (1) week prior to your trial date. Please be advised that in order to qualify for a public defender, your charge(s) must carry consequences of either high fines, loss of driving privileges, or jail time, and you must be found financially indigent.