Municipal Court
Municipal Court Administrative Offices are located at 248 Hamilton Avenue, Second Floor
Municipal Court Administrator: Susan Paul -- 201-288-4004

Administrative Information
Municipal Judge: Joseph Jones
Court Administrator: Susan Paul

Public Defender: Thomas Mason
Public Defender Alt.: Mark Musella

Prosecutor: Rosario Presti
Prosecutor Alt.: Thomas Flynn

Municipal Court Administrative Office Hours
9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday -- 201-288-3117
For payment of fines: 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

NEW: Municipal Court -- Every Wednesday in month at 4:00 p.m., 248 Hamilton Avenue.
For more information call 201-288-3117.

Any one is permitted to attend and observe Municipal Court sessions.

Note that requests for adjournments cannot be processed via this web site or e-mail.  Requests must be made via telephone or writing to toe court administrator so a new trial date can be scheduled.

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Recent Developments
Upon receiving a summons
New laws
Recent legislation
Overnight Parking
Snow Removal
Seat Belts
Driving Under The Influence -- Penalties & Fines
Court Questions


Municipal Court is in session every Wednesday at 1PM at the the Public Safety Building, 248 Hamilton Avenue, Second Floor and Judge Joseph Jones presides.  Court is sometimes held on other days if the court calendar is too large or for special cases such as DWI cases with expert witnesses when the trial may be prolonged.

During an average week,  the Judge  issues two Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Orders after taking sworn testimony from the complainants. The Judge may also perform marriage ceremonies. The Judge is also frequently called by the Police Department to issue Warrants and to set bail.
The Judge  also sits in other Municipal Courts if an emergency develops regarding another Judge and may also be contacted by another municipality's Police regarding Warrants or Bail in the absence of their Judge. The same arrangement pertains to the Hasbrouck Heights Municipal Court.

The Hasbrouck Heights Municipal Court has jurisdiction over the following cases:

  • Motor Vehicle/Traffic Violations
  • Disorderly/Petty Disorderly Persons Offenses
  • Violations of Weights and Measures
  • Parks and Forests
  • Fish and Game
  • Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Violations of Municipal Ordinances of Hasbrouck Heights

If you are charged with a more serious offense, these "indictables" would be sent to the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office. The case would either be brought before a Grand Jury in Superior Court or downgraded to the Hasbrouck Heights Municipal Court by the Prosecutor.

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Previous Developments:

The Court Administrator announced the Municipal Court Violations Schedule for all-night parking has been amended: Fines mailed into the Violations Bureau as guilty pleas for parking during 2AM through 6AM on Borough Streets have been raised to $20 from $15. All other parking violations have also been raised to $20 for those that were $15 when guilty pleas are made by mail instead of appearing in Court
A defendant may contest any case by appearing on the Court day after notifying the Court Administrator 7 days before the hearing date so that witnesses can be notified. Or the defendant may submit an Affidavit on certain cases, including parking cases, upon giving up the right to appear. Check with the Court Administrator, 288-4004, as to type of case permitted to plead by Affidavit.

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Upon receiving a summons ...

Many traffic and parking offenses are payable by mail or at the Violation Bureau if they do not have "court appearance required" marked on the summons. You may complete the Appearance, Plea and Waiver section on the back of the summons and make your payment by mail or in person. By doing this, you are waiving your right to a trial and pleading guilty. Call the Violation Bureau if you do not see the amount to be paid on the back of the summons.

All criminal matters are not payable and must be heard before the Judge in court. If you would like to plead not guilty to a summons, telephone or write to the Violations Bureau at least a week prior to the court date listed on the summons. This must be done by telephone or in person.

You may represent yourself or have an attorney represent you. If you cannot afford an attorney and you face a consequence of magnitude (a substantial fine, loss of driving privileges or incarceration), a Public Defender application may be filled out at your first court appearance for the Judge to review. If an interpreter is needed, one will be provided by the court.

The court is unable to recommend attorneys but will provide you with the number of Bergen County Legal Services. They will assist you if you need a recommendation. Please do not hesitate to call the Violation Bureau if you have any questions or are unsure as to how to proceed.

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New laws
A law went into effect September 5, 2000, granting the defendant, charged with both refusing to take a breathalyzer test and driving under the influence (DWI), the right to plea bargain by pleading guilty to DWI and having the refusal charge dismissed. Previously, the six months revocation for refusal could not be dismissed and was added to the six months revocation for DWI upon conviction of both charges. It also appears that DWI and drug charges may now be plea-bargained, with the Municipal Judge's approval, which Supreme Court Rules previously prohibited.

In July, 2000, the NJ Legislature overturned the NJ Supreme Court Ruling prohibiting amending moving motor vehicle charges to a charge which would have resulted in no points against the defendant's record with the Department of Motor Vehicles. The new law permits amending a point-producing charge, such as speeding or passing on the right, to a new charge without points, created by the Legislature: "Unsafe Driving". (This is different from "Careless Driving" which requires point assessment upon conviction). The difference between those two offenses is difficult to see, except by the result according to Judge Chandless.

This plea bargain would be on motion of the Prosecutor, usually with the police officer's agreement. The final decision on a plea bargain rests with the Judge and can be denied even if the Prosecutor and the defense agree. The purpose of the new law is to keep Court calendars from bogging down with trials on every contested charge in the Municipal Courts.

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Recent legislation

  • NJS 2C:33-13.1 makes it a Petty Disorderly Persons offense to sell cigarettes to minors.
  • NJS 2C:33-26 makes it a Disorderly Persons offense to sell a motor vehicle on Sunday. A licensed dealer shall also be subject to suspension or revocation of their license.
  • NJS 18A:2-3 prohibits the sale of term papers and subjects offenders to a civil penalty of up to $1,000.
  • 39:4-204 prohibits snow obstruction of parking spaces reserved for handicapped motorists.
  • NJSA 2C:21-17 is amended regarding impersonation of another or assumption of a false identity; and establishes penalty for theft of identity.
  • Effective December 1, 1999, there will be increased penalties for certain alcohol-related driving offenses, including those in school zones.
  • N.J.S.A. 2C:33-3 was recently amended upgrading the crime of making a false alarm (fire, explosion, bombing, crime catastrophe or emergency) to a third degree crime and requiring suspension of driving privileges for juveniles who commit this offense.
  • N.J.S.A. 2C:58-2 is amended to prohibit licensed dealers from transferring handguns to purchasers unless accompanied by a trigger lock, locked case, gun box, container or other security facility. The dealer must note on the record of sale that these security devices were delivered with the handgun. Exempted are certain antique handguns.

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Regarding state statute 39:4-138 --
Many people have expressed surprise when receiving a summons for violation of this state statute. Please be aware that it is improper to park in, among others, the following locations:

  • Within an intersection
  • On a crosswalk
  • In front of a driveway
  • Within 25 feet of crosswalk
  • Within 10 feet of fire hydrant
  • Within 20 feet of driveway entrance to fire station
  • Within 50 feet of stop sign
  • Within 50 feet of railroad

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Overnight Parking

If you have recently moved into Hasbrouck Heights or have new neighbors, please let them know that it is improper to park on any street in Hasbrouck Heights between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Exceptions such as disabled vehicle, driveway work, etc. may be made with the Hasbrouck Heights Police Department the prior evening.

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Snow Removal

"The owner or owners, tenant or tenants of any land abutting upon the public streets of the Hasbrouck Heights shall remove all snow and ice from the abutting sidewalks of such public streets within twelve (12) hours of daylight after the same shall fall or be formed thereon.

The penalty for a first violation of this ordinance is a fine, payable at the Violations Office,  Monday - Friday, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. A second violation would require a court appearance.

Snow Removal -- Handicap Parking Spaces
Governor Whitman  signed into law legislation requiring a person who owns or controls a parking area to be responsible for assuring that parking spaces reserved for handicapped motorists and curb cuts and other improvements designed to provide accessibility are not obstructed. If the obstruction is ice or snow, it must be removed from the parking space, curb cut or other improvement within 48 hours after inclement weather has ended. A violator of this law is liable for a fine of not less than $000 or more than $000. Any violation of this law requires an appearance in Court.

Snow Removal -- Motor Vehicle Roof Snow and Ice

When snow or ice is dislodged from a moving vehicle and strikes another vehicle or pedestrian causing injury or property damage, the following penalties shall apply:

The operator of a non-commercial motor vehicle shall be subject to a fine  for each offense.

The operator, owner, lessee, bailee or any one of the aforesaid of a commercial motor vehicle shall be subject to a fine for each offense.

No motor vehicle points or automobile insurance eligibility points shall be assessed for this offense, however any violation of this law requires an appearance in Court..

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Seat Belts

On January 18, 2000, Governor Whitman signed into law N.J.S.A. 39:3-76.2, which is effective on May 1, 2000. The new law authorizes a law enforcement officer to stop and ticket a motorist if the officer observes that the motorist is not wearing a seat belt. No other violation need be occurring for the stop to take place.

The Passenger Automobile Seat Belt Usage Act requires the driver, all front seat passengers, and children under age five to wear seatbelts. The new law expands the definition of passenger automobile to include vans, pick-up trucks, and utility vehicles, so that the driver and passengers of these vehicles must wear seat belts.

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Driving Under The Influence -- Penalties & Fines

It's important that everyone be aware of the penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI). The following are the current Court imposed fines and penalties as of 11/28/00.

First offense
* loss of license six months to one year - fine $250 - $400
* resource center 12-48 hours - jail up to 30 days

Second offense
* loss of license two years - fine $500 -$1,000
* community service 30 days - resource center 12-48 hours
* jail for 48 hours to 90 days

Third offense
* loss of license ten years - fine $1,000
* community service up to 90 days - resource center 12-48 hours
* jail for 180 days

Refusal of Chemical Test

First offense

* loss of license six months - fine $250-$500
* resource center for 12 hours minimum

Second offense

* loss of license two years - fine $250-$500
* resource center for 12 hours minimum

Third and subsequent offenses

* loss of license for 10 years - fine $250-$500
* resource center for 12 hours minimum

In addition to the court-imposed fines and penalties, anyone convicted of DUI or chemical test refusal is subject to additional surcharges by the state of New Jersey, and insurance surcharges. The penalties are severe so that the message is clear - Don't drink and drive!

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Court Questions

The Court must remain impartial to all parties involved in a case. The following is a list of what the court staff can and cannot do for you. We will try to answer any questions you have about your case or any matters within our jurisdiction:

WE CAN explain and answer questions about how the court works.
WE CAN tell you what the requirements are to have your case considered by the court.
WE CAN give you some information from your case file.
WE CAN provide you with samples of court forms that are available.
WE CAN provide you with guidance on how to fill out forms.
WE CAN answer questions about court deadlines.

WE CANNOT give you legal advice. Only a lawyer (or the Public Defender) can give you legal advice.
WE CANNOT tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court.
WE CANNOT give you an opinion about what will happen if you bring your case to court.
WE CANNOT recommend a lawyer, but we can provide you with the telephone number of a local lawyer referral service.
WE CANNOT talk to the judge for you about what will happen in your case.
WE CANNOT let you talk to the judge outside of court.
WE CANNOT change an order issued by a judge.

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