Serving Montvale, Park Ridge
and Woodcliff Lake
The Pascack Joint Municipal Court is a court of limited jurisdiction, having responsibility for matters that occur within the geographic boundaries of Montvale, Park Ridge and Woodcliff Lake. This court hears a variety of cases, including motor vehicle offenses, minor criminal offenses, borough ordinance violations and neighborhood disputes. The joint court was created through a cooperative effort by the governing bodies of the three Boroughs, and opened on April 1, 2011. Both the court office and courtroom are located in Montvale
Court Room Standards
- No weapons are permitted in the courtroom or the municipal building.
- Food, drink or gum chewing is not permitted in the courtroom.
- Smoking is prohibited in all government buildings.
- Please avoid bringing small children to court. If you must bring them, please be prepared to wait outside the courtroom until your case is called.
- Please wear suitable clothing to court. Shirts and shoes are required. Hats are not permitted.
- At the beginning of the court session, the judge will give an opening statement explaining court procedure, defendants' rights, and potential penalties.
- All municipal court proceedings are recorded. Please remain quiet. The length of time you will be in court depends on many things. Some cases take longer than others, so please be patient.
- It is very important that you arrive in court on the day and time stated on your ticket, summons, subpoena or court notice. IF you arrive late, or if your name is not called, you should notify the court officer immediately. You may also wish to check the court calendar posted at the entrance to the courtroom to see if your matter is listed.
- A case may be postponed to permit the defendant to hire a lawyer. If the defendant wishes to go ahead without a lawyer, the judge will ask for his or her plea. If the defendant pleads guilty, the judge will ask questions regarding the offense charged to make sure there is good reason for the guilty plea.
- If the defendant pleads not guilty and all involved parties are present and prepared, the case will proceed to trial. Once the judge has heard the testimony, he will decide if the defendant is guilty, not guilty, or if the case should be dismissed.
- If you wish to discuss a plea agreement with the prosecutor, you must do so prior to trial.
- If a defendant does not appear, a warrant may be issued and his or her driving privileges may be suspended.
- NOTICES OF ADDRESS CHANGES: All parties to a particular case, whether you are the defendant, complainant or witness, must notify the court of any change, correction or addition to your current address. All notices sent by this court are sent to the address of record. If your address is not correct or complete, you may not receive notification of your court date. Please make sure that all address changes are made with both the Motor Vehicle Commission and the Municipal Court.
Court Frequently Asked Questions
If you wish to plead guilty and give up your right to a trial, you may do so provided "court appearance required" has not been checked on the ticket and provided the charge is listed on the State or Local Violations Schedule. To pay your summons, bring or mail it, together with the correct payment, to:
Pascack Joint Municipal Court
12 Mercedes Drive
Montvale NJ 07645
A receipt will be sent if you include a self-addressed stamped envelope with your payment. Payment is due by the court date listed on the summons. Alternately, you may make credit card payments online at NJMC Direct. Payments received after the appearance date may be assessed additional penalties. Failure to pay a traffic ticket may result in a suspension of your driving privileges and the issuance of a warrant.
A criminal charge always requires your appearance in court. In traffic or other matters, if "court appearance required" is checked on the ticket, you must appear in court at the time and place indicated, even if you wish to plead guilty. If "court appearance required" is not checked on the traffic ticket, you must still appear in court if:
- You wish to have a trial
- The charge is not listed on the State or Local Violations Schedule
- Personal injury is involved
If you intend to plead not guilty to the offense charged in the summons you must notify the court of your intention at least seven days before your scheduled court date. Failure to do so may cause unnecessary court appearances.
If a defendant does not agree with the court's decision, she or he may appeal to the Bergen County Superior Court. The appeal does not involve a new trial. No new testimony or new witnesses may be considered. The superior court reviews the transcript of the municipal court trial and the decision of the municipal court judge, and will reverse the decision only if there has been a mistake made regarding the facts or the law. An appeal must be filed within 20 days of the municipal court judge's decision. Filing fee and transcript deposits are due at that time. Upon request, the court administrator will supply any defendant with all the necessary forms to be filed to appeal the decision. The defendant may request that his or her penalty be stayed pending the appeal. The municipal court judge will decide whether or not to do so.NJMC Online
A defendant is entitled to be represented by the public defender when:
- The charge presents a risk of the defendant going to jail, losing driving privileges, or receiving a substantial fine.
- The court determines that the defendant is unable to afford an attorney.
The defendant will be required to complete a financial questionnaire that can be obtained in court or at the violations window. The court may charge a non-refundable application fee of up to $200. The judge will review the application in court and decide if the defendant qualifies for a public defender.
The New Jersey Supreme Court allows plea agreements to be made within the municipal courts except in drunk driving and certain drug-related cases. A plea agreement is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor about how the case will be resolved. In exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecutor may amend the charge to one that is less serious or that may result in fewer points on one's license. Certain charges may be dismissed or a specific sentence may be recommended. Before trial, a defendant may speak with the prosecutor to try to settle his or her case through this process.
You must have your witnesses present in court on the day of trial. If they will not come to court voluntarily, you may ask the court administrator to provide you with subpoenas to require them to appear in court. Written statements of witnesses are not allowed - the person must appear in court.
In a trial, the prosecutor calls each of the State's witnesses and asks them questions. You will have a chance to ask them questions (to cross-examine them). After the prosecutor has called all of the State's witnesses, you have the opportunity to make a statement under oath (to testify) on your own behalf and to call any witnesses you may have. You have a constitutional right to remain silent - the decision about whether to testify is yours. If you do testify, the prosecutor can ask you questions and may also ask questions of your witnesses.
This program allows defendants charged with certain drug offenses to be placed on probation for a period of time determined by the court. It is a diversionary program for first-time offenders, which allows charges to be dismissed if the defendant successfully completes probation. The judge or probation department may require that the defendant get drug counseling, have random drug tests, or other conditions. To be eligible, a defendant must have:
- Never been convicted of a drug offense in this State or any other State.
- Never been granted a conditional discharge before.
- Never received pre-trial intervention or pre-trial diversion in any State or Federal Court.
The judge ultimately determines who is eligible for a conditional discharge. If granted, the defendant must pay mandatory assessments, and the judge may suspend his or her driving privileges. If the defendant complies with all conditions of the program, including satisfying all financial obligations, the charges will be dismissed in court. If new offenses have been committed during the probation period, the defendant may be tried on the original charge(s) and the new offenses.
Bail is money deposited with the court to release a defendant from jail and to assure the defendant's future appearance in court. Bail can only be returned to the person who posted it. Bail will not be returned until the case is concluded. The bail receipt should be brought to the court to speed the return of bail. It may be possible to have the bail applied to any fines or assessments that may be imposed by the court.
A warrant is a judicial order authorizing law enforcement to arrest an individual and bring him / her to court. Warrants are ordered when an individual fails to answer a summons by a given court date, or fails to comply with a court order (i.e. payment of fines or conditions imposed as part of sentencing). Bail can be posted at any New Jersey municipal court or police department in the form of cash, check, money order or bond by the defendant (person charged) or surety (someone other than the defendant). The purpose of bail is to ensure that the defendant appears at all future court dates. If a defendant fails to appear after bail has been posted the bail / bond will be forfeited and a new warrant will be issued. Once the court matter has been disposed, the person who posted the bail presents the BAIL RECEIPT and a form of identification to obtain a refund of bail. If the person who posted the bail is not present on the night of court, a check will be mailed to the address provided on the bail form. If fines are assessed by the judge, and the defendant posted bail, that bail may be used to pay the fines.
Mission Statement of the New Jersey Judiciary
We are an independent branch of government constitutionally entrusted with the fair and just resolution of disputes in order to preserve the rule of law and to protect the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States and this State.