What is the municipal courts role in domestic violence


Serious domestic violence cases are always heard in a State Superior Court. Think about what happened to Ray Rice.  Because his incident occurred on a night or weekend, a municipal court set the bail and decided if there was probable cause to issue a Temporary Restraining Order.  Had the incident occurred during regular working hours the police would have spoken to the Superior Court Judge instead. There are really three scenarios where a domestic violence matter can be heard in municipal court

  1. The complaint is filed at after hours, on weekends, or holidays.  This doesn’t mean that the case will stay in the municipal court only that it starts there.
  2. The charges are not deemed sufficiently serious to warrant superior court.  This means the potential consequences are much less; or
  3. The prosecutor or grand jury remands the matter down to municipal court and effectively reducing the maximum penalties.

Here is a possible situation: On a Saturday morning, a male partner in a relationship strikes his female partner.  This is not the first time this has happened, but this time she decides to do something about it.  She calls 911 and reports the crime.  What will happen?  Well, the police will come and advise the victim of her rights regarding this crime.  If the victim feels she needs protection she may request a temporary restraining order.  The officer will call a Municipal Court Judge and explain why there is probable cause for a restraining order to issue.  If she doesn’t request a restraining order, or it isn’t granted, she may still file a criminal complaint for the conduct.  The most common ground is assault, but it isn’t the only one.  Depending on the officer’s observations, he may choose to file charges against the abuser on his or her own.  If criminal charges are filed, the alleged abuser will be arrested and fingerprinted.  Depending on the seriousness of the charge he will either be released on his own recognizance (referred to as ROR) or a bail will be issued.  The municipal court judge will make that decision. You will then be asked to appear in court.

There is a national hotline and in Monmouth County 180 Turning Lives Around is ready to help.  Select the link for their contact information.  If you think a loved one has been a <a ” href=”/faqs/what-are-some-signs-of-domestic-violence-.cfm”>victim of Domestic Violence, see this article for signs.

If you face an immigration challenge we have some valuable resources for you:

  1. An Immigrant’s Guide to Municipal Court – Here I discuss the municipal court process and how a municipal court matter can result in your being deported. I also discuss what happens if you get arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement, what you need to know to get out of custody, and what to expect if you are placed in removal hearings.
  2. Do You Need an Immigration Attorney? – You Might Not. I will explain when you need an immigration attorney.  Not every needs one.  I will also explain the benefits of hiring one in any immigration challenge.
  3. 7 Critical Questions to ask Before Hiring an Immigration Attorney – If you have decided that you need an immigration attorney, how do you make sure you hire a good one?  I explain to you the questions you need to ask before you hire your immigration attorney.

If you have questions, we have answers.

You can:

  1. Call our knowledgeable staff at 888-695-6169;
  2. Fill out our contact us form on this page; or
  3. Select our live chat feature to speak to someone right away.

We help victims of domestic violence, one trial at a time.

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