COMPLAINANT: The complainant is the person who signed the complaint in a legal action or proceeding. The complainant is a witness for the State and will generally be given an opportunity to speak with the Municipal Prosecutor about the case.
DEFENDANT: The defendant is the person formally accused of the violation in a legal action or proceeding. The defendant will be informed of the charges, possible penalties and right to a lawyer. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The Defense Attorney is the lawyer the defendant hires to represent himself/herself in a legal action or proceeding.
PROSECUTOR: The Prosecutor is the lawyer appointed by the municipality to represent the State.
PUBLIC DEFENDER: The Public Defender is the lawyer appointed by the municipality to represent those defendants who cannot afford their own lawyer.
VICTIM: The person who is harmed or made to suffer from an act.
WITNESS: Someone who testifies as to what was seen, heard or otherwise known or offers evidence in court.
WHO IS ENTITLED TO THE PUBLIC DEFENDER?
A defendant is entitled to be represented by the Public Defender, when the defendant is facing a Consequence of Magnitude; the potential sentence presents a risk of going to jail, losing driving privileges or receiving a substantial fine, and the court establishes that the defendant cannot afford an attorney. The court may charge an application fee of not more than $200.00.
WHAT IS BAIL?
Bail is the money posted with the court to secure the release of the defendant with the condition that the defendant will appear for every court proceeding until final disposition. The bail may be forfeited if the defendant does not appear in court and a warrant may be reissued.
WHAT IS PROBATION?
Probation is a sentence that judges can impose on people in certain cases. Probation allows an offender to serve his or her sentence under the supervision of a probation officer. A sentence of probation may require an offender to pay fines, to pay restitution to the victim of his or her offense, to seek counseling for substance abuse or for family problems, or to perform various community service work. People on probation remain under the authority of the court until probation is completed. Offenders who violate the conditions of probation may be returned to the court and may be resentenced.
WHAT ARE POSSIBLE PENALTIES UPON CONVICTION?
The conviction of a disorderly persons offense could result in a maximum fine of $1,000.00 and other mandatory assessments. The conviction of a petty disorderly persons offense could result in a maximum fine of $500.00 and other mandatory assessments. The Municipal Court may impose a jail sentence that cannot exceed six months for disorderly persons offense and cannot exceed 30 days for a petty disorderly persons offense. Certain criminal and traffic offense convictions require mandatory license suspensions. The judge is mandated to order community service on certain traffic offense convictions and may order it on a criminal offense conviction. The judge may order probation on certain criminal offense convictions. Community Service and probation is served through the Union County Probation Department.
WHAT IS AN EXPUNGEMENT?
Expungement means the extraction and isolation of all records on file within any court of an offense within the criminal justice system. New Jersey law provides a limited right to expungement. The purpose of the law is to give a person who has either one or very few convictions a fresh start. The law also provides for the removal of records of arrests where the arrest did not end in a conviction. The expungement law states in detail who is eligible for an expungement. You should review N.J.S.A. 2C:52-1 et seq. to determine if you are eligible. An eligible person must prepare and file a Petition for Expungement. A Petition for Expungement must be filed in the Superior Court in the county where the arrest or prosecution took place. A judge then decides whether the person should be granted an Expungement Order, which means that with some exception, the criminal proceeding never happened.
Any person convicted of a disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offense under the laws of this State who has not been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, or of another three disorderly persons or petty disorderly persons offenses, may, after the expiration of a period of 5 years from the date of the conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration, whichever is later, file a Petition for Expungement. Any person that has been found guilty of violating a municipal ordinance of any governmental entity of this State and who has not been convicted of any prior or subsequent crime, whether within this State or any other jurisdiction, and who has not been adjudged a disorderly person or petty disorderly person on more than two occasions, may, after the expiration of a period of 2 years from the date of conviction, payment of fine, satisfactory completion of probation or release from incarceration, whichever is later, file a Petition for Expungement. Any person that has been arrested or held to answer for a crime, disorderly persons offense, petty disorderly persons offense or municipal ordinance violation under the laws of this State or of any governmental entity thereof and against whom proceedings were dismissed, or acquitted or was discharged without a conviction or finding of guilt, may at the time following the disposition of proceedings, file a Petition for Expungement.
If you are filing a Petition for Expungement for charges that arose from Kenilworth, the Petition for Expungement would be filed in Union County Superior Court. You can contact this court for a copy of a Petition for Expungement packet.