NJ and PA Municipal and Magisterial Court Attorneys
With Offices in Trenton & Pennington, NJ and Bensalem, PA
Small crimes can lead to severe punishments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If you’ve been charged with a minor criminal offense, you could be looking at serious penalties, including heavy fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and possible jail time. Plus, a conviction for any criminal offense will result in you having a permanent criminal record. That could be absolutely devastating to your future career prospects because these records are becoming increasingly easy for employers to access on the Internet. It can also be humiliating to have to explain a criminal conviction to your friends and family members.
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense, do not risk your future or your reputation. The experienced criminal and traffic defense attorneys at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson have decades of experience in local courtrooms. We’ve successfully defended countless clients in municipal and magisterial courts throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania as well as clients who have been cited for NJ traffic violations and PA traffic violations. Whether you are facing criminal charges in a local municipal court or dealing with a traffic ticket in traffic court, the lawyers at KCR can help you.
Municipal and Magisterial Court Cases in New Jersey and Pennsylvania
In New Jersey, felony-level offenses are heard in the Superior Court in the county in which the alleged offense occurred. These are often the most serious offenses, and they include charges such as homicide, aggravated assault, and kidnapping. Less serious charges, classified as disorderly persons offenses and petty disorderly persons offenses, are heard in the local Municipal Court in the county where the offense occurred. Examples of these low-level offenses include simple assault, shoplifting, and possession of less than 50 grams of marijuana. Motor vehicle violations are also adjudicated at the Municipal Court level, with charges ranging from driving while intoxicated (DWI) to driving with a suspended license.
In Pennsylvania, Magisterial District Courts are venues in which a variety of court matters are initially heard and/or ultimately decided. Specifically, Magisterial District Courts are tasked with handling proceedings related to parking and traffic violations, bench warrants for arrests, preliminary arraignments and preliminary hearings related to criminal matters, as well as civil and landlord tenant complaints involving amounts up to $12,000. The cases that are ultimately adjudicated in the Magisterial District Courts are relatively low-level offenses, often called “summary offenses.”
More serious criminal cases involving misdemeanors and felony offenses are filed in the local Magisterial District Court, at which time the court holds a preliminary arraignment and preliminary hearing before referring the case to the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. PA law classifies misdemeanors according to the severity of the offense. Class A, B, and C misdemeanors include offenses such as misdemeanor burglary, public intoxication, and trespassing.
Do not make the mistake of thinking you don’t need legal representation to answer these charges in magisterial court. If you are convicted of a low-level misdemeanor in Pennsylvania, you could be sentenced to up to one year in jail and fined as much as $4,000.
Traffic matters and DWI/DUI cases are typically handled in local municipal and magisterial courts as well. Having an experienced traffic defense attorney by your side in court could make all the difference in allowing you to maintain your driving privileges.
How Can an Attorney Help You in Municipal or Magisterial Court?
Although the penalties for disorderly persons offenses and misdemeanors are less severe than the penalties for felony-level offenses, you could still be looking at serious jail time. In New Jersey, a conviction for a disorderly persons offense could result in you being sentenced to up to six months in county jail. However, prosecutors are often willing to negotiate with defense attorneys in order to avoid the hassle of a trial.
An experienced criminal defense attorney at KCR may be able to get your charge downgraded to a local municipal ordinance violation, which would allow you to stay out of jail and keep your permanent record clear of a criminal conviction. Under certain circumstances, an attorney may even be able to get your charges dismissed entirely.
New Jersey & Pennsylvania Municipal & Magisterial Court Case Lawyers
A conviction for a misdemeanor or disorderly persons offense can result in crippling penalties. Do not risk getting blindsided by these potentially life-changing outcomes. Make sure that you have qualified legal representation when you appear in municipal court to answer your charges.
Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson can help you. We defend clients facing criminal charges in local municipal courts throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We also handle traffic violations in local PA traffic courts. One of our dedicated municipal court attorneys will listen to your side of the story and will work to formulate a winning defense strategy in your case. You can reach us anytime by phone or by filling out our online contact form.