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Monmouth County Criminal Defense Lawyers

If you have been arrested, charged with a criminal offense, or are under investigation, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced Monmouth County Criminal Defense Lawyer about your options.

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Where do I go to Court for a Criminal Case in Monmouth County?

Where do I go to court for a criminal case in Monmouth County

New Jersey’s criminal justice system can be complex at times. Just trying to figure out what court will have jurisdiction in your case can be overwhelming to say the least.

Basically there are three different courts that could have jurisdiction over an arrest in Monmouth County. The key is to figure out which one you need to appear in. If the arrest occurs within the boarders of Monmouth County, including towns like Belmar, Wall Township, Middletown, Holmdel, Freehold, Manalapan, Keyport, Asbury Park or Long Branch then you would need to appear in one of the following courts: Monmouth County Superior Court, Criminal Division; Municipal Court; or Monmouth County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part. To further complicate things, the Chancery Division, Family Court will hear not only juvenile criminal matters but it will also hear all domestic violence restraining orders as well. Here is a breakdown of the three main “criminal” courts within Monmouth County.

How to Determine which Court will Handle Your Monmouth County Criminal Case

Where do I appear for a Misdemeanor Charge in a Local Monmouth County Town?

Anyone arrested and charged with a disorderly persons offense, which is also known as a “misdemeanor”, borough ordinance or a traffic summons within Monmouth County’s boarder will need to appear in Municipal Court to answer for the charges. Typically speaking, the municipality where the arrest occurs will be the municipal court that the individual needs to appear in to defend the allegations. So, for example, if an individual is arrested in Manasquan and charged with simple assault they will need to appear in the Manasquan Municipal Court, which is located at 201 E. Main Street in Manasquan. In Monmouth County alone there are over thirty-five Municipal Courts. For more information on each court, including directions and hours of operation, please click Monmouth County Municipal CourtsSome of the most common disorderly persons offenses charged in Monmouth County include: Harassment, Disorderly Conduct, Possession of a Fake ID, Simple Assault, Shoplifting and Trespassing.

How Serious is a Disorderly Persons Offense in NJ?

Despite what most might think, disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons are rather serious offenses in New Jersey. Although they are not considered felony offenses, a disorderly persons and petty disorderly persons offense will still scar the individual with permanent criminal record if convicted. In addition, an individual convicted of a disorderly persons offense will also face up to six (6) months in the Monmouth County Jail as well as up to a $1,000.00 fine.  Conversely, an individual convicted of a petty disorderly persons offense will face up to thirty (30) days in the Monmouth County Jail and a fine up to $500.00. Furthermore, depending on the individual’s prior criminal record, a disorderly or petty disorderly persons conviction will remain for at least three years under New Jersey’s current expungement law

What Court Handles my Case if I was Charged with a Felony in Monmouth County?

The Monmouth County Superior Court, Criminal Division, which is located at 71 Monument Ave in Freehold will have original jurisdiction over all felony matters that occur within in Monmouth County, regardless of the town. In New Jersey we have four different degree’s of felony offenses (first, second, third & fourth) all of these will be sent to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for initial review. For most part all felony offenses will be litigated in the Monmouth County Superior Court. However, unlike disorderly persons offenses, certain felony offenses might be downgraded to disorderly persons offenses and remanded back to the local municipal court for disposition. For example, if an individual is charged with a third degree felony offense for terroristic threats in Wall Township, their case will automatically be sent to the Monmouth County Superior Court.  But once there, if the facts warrant it and if defense counsel can convince the Monmouth County Prosecutor Office the charges could be downgraded to a harassment charge and be sent back to the Wall Municipal Court. Some of the most frequent felony offenses we see being issued in Monmouth County include but are not limited too: Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Drug Possession, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Stalking, Theft, Robbery and Unlawful Possession of a Weapon. For more information on the Monmouth County Superior Court, Criminal Division, please click the link.

How Serious is a Felony Charge in Monmouth County?

As touched upon above, indictable offenses, which is New Jersey’s version of a felony, are broken down into four different degrees. As one would imagine, the potential penalties drastically increase depending on the degree. The specific degree of an offenses that the individual is facing will depend directly upon the specific allegations as opposed to an individual’s criminal record. Here is a breakdown of the basic penalties an individual faces if convicted of a certain degree:

  • First Degree Felony:
    • 10 – 20 Years in Prison;
    • $200,000 Fine;
    • Felony Criminal Record
  • Second Degree Felony:
    • 5 – 10 Years in Prison;
    • $150,000 Fine;
    • Felony Criminal Record
  • Third Degree Felony:
    • 3 – 5 Years in Prison;
    • $15,000 Fine;
    • Felony Criminal Record
  • Fourth Degree Felony:
    • 18 Months in Prison;
    • $10,000 Fine;
    • Felony Criminal Record

For more information on how the process works with Superior Court criminal matters, including what a Detention Hearing, Arraignment, Grand Jury, Pre-Indictment Conference and Central Judicial Processing Court is, please click the corresponding links.

FAQ’s on Superior Criminal Court Matters:

  • Can I have a Jury Trial?
    • It is the Defendant’s right to have either a Bench or Jury Trial on the allegations;
  • Can I get bail on a Felony Charge in Monmouth?
    • Depending on the allegations and the Defendant’s criminal history, they may be required to be detained in the Monmouth County Jail, without bail, pending trial;
  • Do I have the right to be Indicted?
    • Defendant has the right to have their matter presented to the Grand Jury prior to being brought to trial;
  • What Diversionary Programs are available in Monmouth County?

My Juvenile is Arrested at the Jersey Shore

The juvenile criminal justice system in New Jersey is a little bit more complex than that of the adult system when it comes to figuring out what Court has jurisdiction. Regardless of the degree of the charge (felony / misdemeanor) all of juvenile matters will be sent to the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part of the county where the juvenile resides. For example, if the juvenile resides in Morristown and they are arrested and charged with possession of a fake id at DJAIS in Belmar the charges will need to be transferred from Belmar to the Morris County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part for disposition. It is important to note here that the Monmouth County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part would not have jurisdiction over the charges. However, to further complicate things, if they case involved “co-defendants” and one of the co-defendants lived in Monmouth County, then everybody’s charges would be sent to the Monmouth County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part. It is also important to note here that all juvenile charges will be prosecuted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, regardless of the degree.

FAQ’s on Juvenile Criminal Cases:

  • Can I have a jury trial?
    • Juvenile is NOT entitled to a Jury Trial and must proceed with a Bench Trial
  • What does Adjudicated as a Delinquent mean?
    • A Juvenile “Adjudicated as a Delinquent” is equivalent to an adult being convicted of a crime
  • Will my hearing be open to the public?
    • All Juvenile hearings are private and not open to the public
  • Can my case be prosecuted as an adult?
    • Depending on the crime alleged and the juvenile’s criminal record, they could be waived up and prosecuted in adult court
  • How much are the fines?
    • Fines have been abolished in the Juvenile Criminal Justice System

Served with a Temporary Restraining Order in Monmouth County, What Next?

Anyone served with a temporary restraining order (TRO) regardless of whether ancillary criminal charges are filled as well will be sent to the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part in the county where either the Plaintiff lives or where the incident occurred. Note that if the incident in question occurred in Point Pleasant but the parties live in Holmdel the temporary restraining order could be litigated in the Monmouth County Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part. Although this is the same court that has jurisdiction over juvenile criminal matters, typically speaking, these matters will not be heard in front of the same judge. Also of importance, since most temporary restraining orders also involve the defendant (aggressor) being charged with criminal charges, it is worth mentioning that those matters will be heard in either the Monmouth County Superior Court, Criminal Division or local municipal court depending on the charge. For more information on restraining orders in Monmouth County, please click the link.

FAQ’s on Restraining Orders in NJ:

  • Will a Restraining Order go on my Criminal Case History?
    • Temporary / Final Restraining Orders are NOT Criminal Offenses and will NOT resort in a Criminal Record;
  • Will I be placed in a Domestic Violence Registry?
    • A Final Restraining Order will result in the Defendant being placed in a Domestic Violence Registry;
  • When does a Final Restraining Order Expire?
    • Final Restraining Order’s are indefinite and never expire
      • They can be vacated if Good Cause can be shown
  • Can I still keep my weapons if a Final Restraining Order is placed against me?
    • If a Final Restraining Order is entered, the Defendant will forfeit his right to possess weapons;
  • Can I be charged criminally if I am served with a Final Restraining Order?
    • A Defendant can be charged Criminal as well as served with a Temporary Restraining Order for the same incident

Why Would my Case be in Federal District Court if I was Arrested in Sandy Hook?

Even though Gunnison Beach, which is located in Sandy Hook is technically in Monmouth County, all criminal matters arising within its boarders will fall under Federal jurisdiction. Therefore, anyone arrested and charged with a crime at Sandy Hook will have to have their matters transferred to Federal Court, which is located in Newark for disposition. It goes without saying that this takes things from bad to worse. So, unlike State criminal charges, regardless of the degree of the charges filled, all criminal and traffic maters that occur within Sandy Hook will be sent to Federal District Court for disposition.

FAQ’s About Being Arrested on Sandy Hook:

  • Where do I go to Court if I am arrested on Sandy Hook?
    • All criminal and traffic matters will be sent to the Federal District Court in Newark for Disposition;
  • What type of Judge presides over my case?
    • A United States Magistrate will preside over the criminal charges;
  • Who is in charge of prosecuting all Sandy Hook arrests?
    • An Assistant United States Attorney will be in charge of prosecuting all cases that occur on Sandy Hook;
  • Can I get bail on a Sandy Hook offense?
    • Anyone charged for a crime on Sandy Hook could be subject to Pretrial Monitoring through the Federal Probation Department while there case proceeds through the system;
      • This could include random drug tests as well as monthly reporting requirements.

Is Your Case Headed to Court? Contact Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving the Jersey Shore for Further Guidance

As you can see from reading above, even determining which court has jurisdiction to hear the case can be complex let alone actually litigating the case. If you or a loved one has been charged with a felony offense, misdemeanor or a restraining order in Monmouth County, regardless of the town, we can help. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Long Branch, Hazlet, Marlboro, Tinton Falls, Middletown, Union Beach, Neptune, Sandy Hook, Colts Neck and Red Bank. If you would like to speak to one of the criminal defense attorneys at Proetta, Oliver & Fay about your options, please contact our office at 732.858.6959. Consultations are always confidential and absolutely free.

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