Superior vs. Municipal Court Cases when You Have been Charged

Summoned to Appear in Criminal Court in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Anyone arrested and charged with a criminal or traffic offense, including driving while intoxicated in New Jersey, must appear in open court to answer for the charges. At first glance, it seems very straight forward, but determining what court you must appear in to defend the charges can be confusing at times. New Jersey has basically two different levels of courts: Superior Court and Municipal Court. The specific court an individual will be scheduled to appear in will depend directly on what degree of an offense the individual is charged with. Meaning, was the individual charged with an Indictable Offense (Felony)? Disorderly Persons Offense (Misdemeanor)? or a Traffic Offense? The underlying charge the individual is facing and not their past criminal record will dictate the degree of the offense.

What Court Do I Have for New Jersey Charges? Superior or Municipal?

  • All indictable offenses will be sent to and litigated in the Superior Court in the County where the incident occurred. For example, if an individual is arrested and charged with aggravated assault and unlawful possession of a weapon in Middletown, the charges would be sent to the Monmouth County Superior Court, which is located in Freehold Township, for litigation.
  • All disorderly persons offenses, which are New Jersey’s version of misdemeanor’s, will be litigated in the local municipal court in the municipality where the incident happened. For the most part, each municipality has its own courthouse. For example, if an individual is arrested and charged with shoplifting under $200.00 worth of merchandise at the Freehold Raceway Mall, the charges will be sent to the Freehold Township Municipal Court, which is located in Freehold Township for disposition.
  • All traffic offenses, including driving under the influence, will be treated just like disorderly persons offenses and will be litigated in the local municipal court in the municipality where the incident occurred.
  • If the individual is charged with both an indictable offense and a disorderly persons offense, both charges will be sent to the Superior Courthouse for disposition.

Top Differences for Superior Court vs. Municipal Court in NJ

Superior Court Case

  • Right to a Trial by Jury or Bench Trial
  • Indictable Offenses (Felony)
  • Grand Jury Process
  • Diversionary Programs:
  • Potential Sentences:
    • Probation (5 years)
    • County Jail Term as Condition of Probation (Max 364 Days)
    • State Prison

Municipal Court Case 

  • Bench Trial Only
  • Disorderly Persons Offenses (Misdemeanor) & Traffic
  • Diversionary Programs:
  • Potential Sentences:
    • Probation (2 years)
    • County Jail Term as Condition of Probation (Max 180 Days)

Common Criminal Offenses Handled in Monmouth County Courts

Monmouth County, which some may see as a seasonal county, with the population soaring during the summers months,  as a whole sees its fair share of crime year in and year out. The types of charges vary every year but some of the most common ones that we see being litigated in the Monmouth County Superior Court and local municipal courts throughout the county include the following:

Superior Court 

Municipal Court

Have Court for Criminal Charge in Freehold NJ

Do you have an upcoming court date for criminal charges? Are you scheduled to appear in the Monmouth County Superior Courthouse for a Central Judicial Processing HearingDetention HearingPre-Indictment Conference? Arraignment? If so, we strongly urge you speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney about your options. Being charged with a crime can be extremely stressful, especially considering the potential consequences if convicted, but that stress is only enhanced when you do not understand the process. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation today with one of our Monmouth County criminal defense attorneys, please contact our office at 732.858.6959 or you can checkout an article on stages of a criminal case in New Jersey. We serve all of Monmouth County, including towns like Asbury Park, Freehold Township, Wall Township, Hazlet, Manalapan, Ocean Township, Belmar and Red Bank. As always, our initial consultations are free of costs. So if you have any questions whatsoever, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.