New Jersey Municipal Court Lawyer

empty courtroom

The only encounter with the New Jersey court system that many residents will ever have often occurs in one of more than 500 municipal courts in the state. Municipal courts often hear the least serious legal matters in the justice system, such as tickets, municipal ordinance offenses and state or local code or regulatory violations.

People facing a hearing or case in a New Jersey municipal court might assume that the minor nature of the case means that the consequences they face are equally limited. But if you are facing a ticket or citation for a violation, you could still receive jail time or significant fines if the municipal court finds against you. You shouldn’t have to put your freedom or your finances at risk. A New Jersey municipal court lawyer at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman can defend your rights and help you pursue a favorable outcome in your case.

For almost a century, our attorneys have worked tirelessly to build a proven track record of honest, ethical, and responsive legal representation. Over the decades, we have helped everyday people, families, and businesses through legal challenges, regardless of their economic background. Four out of five clients have come to us through referrals from family members, friends, co-workers, and other attorneys in New Jersey. We have the resources to take on the most challenging cases while being small enough to offer you the personalized attention and respect you deserve.

municipal building

If you are facing a ticket or citation in municipal court, don’t ignore the consequences of a potential conviction. Turn to a municipal court lawyer from Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman for a free initial case evaluation to discuss your legal options.

The free consultation is completely confidential. During the consultation, our New Jersey municipal court lawyers are prepared to:

  • Meet with you in person or by Zoom
  • Speak with you in Spanish if you prefer
  • Discuss the differences between a trial versus a plea and the potential consequences of each
  • Explore any evidence issues and whether a motion to suppress is an option
  • Discuss fees and costs (Municipal court cases generally involve a flat fee.)
  • Review past motor vehicle operation and determine whether that history could have an impact on the offense charged, if relevant

Our NJ Municipal Court Lawyers Are Ready to Help

man holding a beer bottle while driving

If you have been charged with a low-level offense or have received a ticket or citation for a traffic or municipal code infraction, an experienced lawyer can advise you of all possible ways of defending the charges against you. Even low-level offenses can result in you losing your job or driver’s license.

At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our municipal court lawyers have decades of experience representing clients in all Mercer County Municipal Courts on all offenses. Our attorneys’ experience and expertise in multiple areas of the law enable us to provide client advice on collateral consequences of conviction – for example, the impact of a DUI on private or public employment.

We are highly knowledgeable and experienced in the rules of evidence, and we use those rules to exclude or limit evidence in municipal court cases. Our lawyers have a long professional association with the local municipal prosecutors and judges, resulting in credibility and good standing with these individuals from years of appearances before them.


NJ Counties We Serve


Municipal Courts in which Attorneys Have Appeared

Overturned Municipal Court Conviction in NJ Supreme Court

We have almost a century of experience representing clients in all Mercer County Municipal Courts on all Municipal Court offenses. 


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The New Jersey municipal court lawyers of Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman can protect your interests by:

Independently investigating

Independently investigating your alleged offense or code or regulatory violations, rather than solely relying on evidence turned over by the state or the local municipality

Identifying possible factual and legal defenses

Identifying possible factual and legal defenses in your case by reviewing the facts

Understanding your unique needs and goals

Understanding your unique needs and goals so that we can pursue a case strategy aimed at securing the results you want

Negotiating a reduction or dismissal of your charges or citation

Negotiating a reduction or dismissal of your charges or citation to reduce or eliminate the penalty or fines that you may be facing

Representing you in the municipal court

Representing you in the municipal court to fight for the dismissal of your traffic or code violation ticket/citation

pulled over by police

Although a municipal court proceeding may seem like a minor matter, you should not ignore the value and huge benefit of having skilled legal representation in your corner. The New Jersey municipal court system is complicated, but the attorneys at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman understand how to navigate those complexities.

We have a legal team of 16 attorneys, supported by a staff of 30 hardworking individuals. Several of our attorneys are included on the list of “The Best Lawyers in New Jersey” published in New Jersey Monthly.

Since 1929, our firm has won court verdicts and landmark decisions in trial and appellate courts. Carrying the torch of our founders, George Pellettieri, Sr., and Ruth Rabstein, we have earned the respect of our legal peers, including judges, regulatory and municipal officials, and our fellow attorneys.

You can rest assured that our firm has the knowledge and experience necessary to ensure that your rights are protected and valued during your municipal court proceedings. We know how to fight, we know how to negotiate with municipal prosecutors, and we know how to obtain the  best outcome for you. When you must respond to a ticket or municipal citation, seek out the best representation. Choose Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman for your case.

Types of Cases We Handle in Municipal Court

At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, our New Jersey municipal court lawyers can help you when you are facing a case involving tickets and municipal citations such as:

DWI Charges

We can help defend you against charges of driving while intoxicated, whether under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including if you are facing charges when you have prior DWI convictions. We can advocate for you, where appropriate, by challenging the constitutionality of the traffic stop or questioning the reliability or admissibility of the state’s evidence of your intoxication, including the results of field sobriety tests, a breathalyzer test, or a drug recognition expert.

Other Traffic Offenses

We represent clients who are facing citations for all kinds of traffic offenses, including speeding tickets, moving violations such as running red lights, failure to signal, illegal turns, or more serious traffic violations such as reckless driving. Where possible, we can also fight to reduce the severity of your traffic charge, such as lowering the charged speed on a speeding ticket or reducing a charge for reckless driving to a lesser offense of careless driving or unsafe operation of a motor vehicle.

Minor Drug Offenses

Our firm can represent you when you face minor drug charges in municipal court, such as simple possession of drugs, possession of drugs in or near a school zone, or possession of drug paraphernalia. We will fight your charges by seeking to have evidence dismissed when you were stopped or searched by police if it violated your rights.

Less Serious Violent Offenses

The NJ municipal court lawyers at Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman can advocate on your behalf when you are charged with minor violent offenses, such as simple assault or certain kinds of domestic violence offenses.

Bad Checks

If you write a check to pay for goods or services on a bank account that you know does not exist or does not have sufficient funds to cover the amount on the check or otherwise will not be honored, you may be looking at charges in municipal court, depending on the amount of the check.


Shoplifting can be charged for a wide range of activities, including taking merchandise from a store without paying retail value, concealing merchandise on one’s person with the intent to not pay for it, ringing up merchandise for less than its retail value without the retailer’s authorization, or changing the packaging or price tags for merchandise to pay less than its retail value. Depending on the value of the goods at issue, shoplifting is an offense heard in municipal court.

Minor Property Offenses

Based on the value of the property at issue, certain property offenses may be heard in municipal court, including larceny, receiving stolen property, theft by deception or extortion, theft of lost property, and damaging or destroying property using fire, explosives, or dangerous means. Municipal courts handle other property offenses, including loitering, vandalism, and trespassing.

Disorderly Person Offenses

In New Jersey, disorderly persons offenses (including petty disorderly persons offenses) refer to a class of offenses heard in municipal court. In other states, disorderly persons offenses are sometimes called misdemeanor offenses. They have maximum penalties of six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Other kinds of disorderly persons offenses not already mentioned above include harassment, resisting arrest, obstruction, lewdness, and disorderly conduct.

Municipal Ordinance Violations

Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman can represent you in municipal court when you have been cited for violations of municipal ordinances involving construction, housing, or health. We represent homeowners, commercial property owners, landlords, contractors, and developers facing citations and potential fines for allegedly violating municipal ordinances during the construction, renovation and maintenance of their properties.

Municipal Code Violations

Unlike disorderly persons offenses that involve violations of state law, municipal code violations involve infractions of local laws passed by the municipality. Municipal ordinances typically cover public health, safety, and welfare. Common municipal code violations that our municipal court lawyers can help you with include violations of zoning ordinances, alcohol beverage control ordinances, landscaping ordinances, parking and traffic ordinances, environmental regulations, animal control ordinances, housing and rent control regulations, and noise regulations or disturbing the peace.

An Overview of New Jersey’s Municipal Court System

New Jersey’s municipal court system handles low-level infractions, municipal code violations, and certain state regulatory violations. Municipal courts are considered courts of limited jurisdiction, which means they only hear those types of cases state law has authorized the court to handle. Municipal court proceedings are typically initiated by a complaint filed by a law enforcement officer, state or local regulatory officer, or a private citizen.

What cases do they hear?

Municipal courts hear any offense, code, or regulatory violation occurring within the municipality’s boundaries. More serious offenses are usually referred from the municipal court to the county prosecutor’s office to decide whether to present the case to a grand jury for an indictment or return the case to the municipal court for prosecution as a lower-level offense.

Do I need to appear in person?

Anyone charged in municipal court with an offense or code violation must appear in court for a hearing on the matter. However, appearing in court for certain traffic violations and code or regulatory violations can be avoided by simply paying the fine on the ticket or citation, which has the effect of pleading guilty to that violation.

Court appearances cannot be avoided if the “court appearance required” box is checked on the citation or ticket. A court appearance is also required if:

  • You want to plead not guilty or not pay the required fine.
  • The charge is not listed on the statewide violations schedule.
  • You were ticketed for a car accident that resulted in personal injury.

If you plan to appear in court when you are not required to do so, you must advise the court that you wish to make an appearance.

Court procedures

At the court hearing on your charge or violation, you can request a postponement of the hearing, usually if you want to seek legal counsel, although the municipal court is not required to grant your request. You can also choose to plead guilty and receive an imposition of a fine or sentence. Finally, you also can choose to plead not guilty or contest a violation.

If you plead not guilty, the municipal court may hold a trial that day or reschedule it for another day. For municipal offenses, the court will conduct a bench trial in which the municipal court judge renders both the verdict and the sentence. Municipal courts do not use a jury system. If you are convicted, you may receive fines and court costs, along with up to six months in county jail.


If you disagree with the municipal court’s decision, you may appeal your case to the Law Division of the County Superior Court. The Superior Court will review the evidence in the record and the transcript of the municipal court proceedings. It will only reverse the municipal court if it made a mistake of fact or misinterpreted the law. If you are still dissatisfied with the ruling, you can further appeal your case to the Appellate Division.

When Should You Talk to a New Jersey Municipal Court Attorney?

If you’ve received a ticket or citation, you should talk to a municipal court attorney from Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman as soon as possible. You may have only a few weeks until the scheduled date of your municipal court hearing. Depending on the complexity of your case, consulting with a New Jersey municipal court attorney as early as possible may be critical to ensuring that you have a robust and compelling case strategy to defend your charges or citation.

A timely discussion with a municipal court attorney will give your legal counsel the opportunity to investigate your charges or citation, recover evidence that could be used to build strong legal arguments, and identify potential defenses. Your attorney can also sit down with you to explain what to expect in the municipal court process and review your legal options. If you are facing charges in municipal court, your attorney can also advocate on your behalf to avoid having your charges referred to a grand jury for indictment, which may mean you will face more serious penalties if you are convicted.

Having legal representation when facing a municipal court case can relieve your stress and anxiety. In some cases, your New Jersey municipal court attorney can appear at the municipal court hearing on your behalf, so you don’t have to. Acting as your representative, they can present your defense to the court to push for a dismissal of your charges or citations.


Talk to Our New Jersey Municipal Court Lawyers Now

If you are facing a ticket or citation in municipal court in Mercer County, New Jersey, don’t leave the outcome of your case to chance. At Pellettieri Rabstein & Altman, you are not simply a number in the court system. You are a valued client, and pursuing your best interests is our goal.

Get the experienced and confident legal representation you need by contacting our NJ municipal court lawyers today. Contact us for a free consultation now.

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