Court Administrator: Deborah Zafonte
Deputy Court Administrator: Stephanie Jacob
Address: Municipal Building, 182 Market Street, Elmwood Park, NJ 07407
Phone: 201-796-1457 x603
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4pm
Judge: Honorable Anthony Gallina
Prosecutor: Kellie M. Reyes, Esq.; Andrew M. Cimiluca (Alt)
Public Defender: Curt Geisler, Esq.; Jack Zapotoczny
AS OF MARCH 26, 2020 ALL BERGEN COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT SESSIONS SCHEDULED THROUGH APRIL 27, 2020 HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED DUE TO COVID-19 PRECAUTIONS. THEY WILL BE RESCHEDULED IN THE NEAR FUTURE.
PLEASE NOTE: All requests for discovery must go through the Police Department Records Bureau. Contact the Police Department Records Bureau at 201-796-2095.
The Elmwood Park Municipal Court office is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Court sessions are every Tuesday at 11:00AM. Internet payment on motor vehicle tickets is available using the Town Code 0211, at www.NJMCdirect.com.
Pay Your Tickets Online
You can pay your motor vehicle summons online at the New Jersey Municipal Courts Direct web site: http://njcourts.judiciary.state.nj.us/njmcdirect/atswepr2/home.do
Mandatory Court Appearance
If you were issued a summons, and the officer checked either the Court Appearance required box, or the personal injury box on the lower left of the summons, you must appear in Court on the scheduled date. Additionally, certain violations are "non payable" and require an appearance in Court - see the Payable Summons section below.
If you intend to plead Not Guilty to a summons or complaint, you must notify the court at least seven (7) days in advance of the court date. The court date is located near the bottom of the summons (Notice to Appear). You may plead Not Guilty by calling the court. You must supply the court with the following:
- Summons or Complaint number
- Any change in address from the one listed on the summons or complaint.
Postponements are not granted after 3:30 PM on the Thursday before a court date.
We will accept "letters of representation" by fax from an attorney up to two hours before court.
Filing Citizen Complaints
To file any complaint with the Elmwood Park Municipal Court the event that prompted the complaint must have occurred within Elmwood Park. If the event that prompted the complaint occurred outside Elmwood Park, the complaint must be filed with the court having jurisdiction at that location.
Complaints involving an act of Domestic Violence can be reported to the Police Department 24 hours a day.
The Municipal Court is not allowed to inquire about, or provide any information regarding the person you are filing the complaint against. That information may be obtained from the Motor Vehicle Commission.
The court is not allowed to provide any legal advice. If you are unsure about what type of complaint, or what offense you want to charge the person with, it is prudent to consult with an attorney before proceeding.
To file any complaint with the Municipal Court, you must submit a completed Affidavit. An Affidavit is a sworn statement of fact. The affidavit describes the event in a factual manner. The affidavit is used to determine probable cause.
"Probable cause is the facts that would lead a person of reasonable Caution to believe that an offense has been committed and that the Person being accused committed the offense."
The procedure for filing both traffic and criminal complaints are similar, but have specific differences.
If you plan to dismiss a complaint, both you and the defendant MUST appear in court. You must come to court on the court date specified and for any date you receive notice to appear.
Community Dispute Resolution Program
The Community Dispute Resolution Program utilizes trained volunteers from the community to mediate minor disputes and may be a helpful way to resolve your problem without relying on the court. Mediation is often the preferred option for cases that involve people with ongoing relationships such as neighbors, friends, relatives, coworkers and others. Mediation is available to every resident of this community.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a structured and confidential form of negotiation which gives you control of the outcome in your case. Negotiation is something you do every day with coworkers, neighbors and family to reach agreements about all types of issues.
In court, you do not decide what happens in your case. The judge, following the law and the strict rules of the court, makes a decision. In mediation, you and the other people in the case negotiate a solution to the conflict.
Your role in mediation
You take an active role in the mediation process. You and the other people directly involved in the problem meet with a panel of trained mediators. The mediators are neutrals who listen impartially to what everyone has to say.
The mediators do not take sides and do not make decisions or judgments about right or wrong. The panel of mediators is there to help you discuss yours needs and differences, and to seek areas of agreement.
The Ground Rules
In order to have a productive exchange of information it is required that you cooperate with the mediator during the session. You and the other party must listen carefully to each other. The list of ground rules you will be expected to follow during the mediation session include:
- Only one person may speak at a time.
- Each person will be given a chance to give their explanation of what has happened without interruption. If you feel the need to interrupt while the other person is talking, simply write you thoughts down on the paper provided and you will be given a chance to speak later.
- The use of name calling, profanity or threats is absolutely prohibited.
- All things said during the mediation session are confidential. The mediator and the people involved may not discuss the details of the mediation session with others.
The mediator may need to speak with each person separately. These meetings may be helpful in attempting to solve the problems that you and the other people are facing. Anything said during this private meeting or caucus is confidential unless you agree that the information may be shared with the other party.
Once all persons involved in the problem come to an agreement, the mediator will put it in writing and everyone will sign it and receive a copy. The mediators will specify in the agreement that the matter will be held open for a period of 15, 30 or a maximum 60 days.
If there is a breach of the agreement during that time it should be reported to the Court Administrator, who will explain how you should proceed.
If no agreement is reached or the agreement reached is broken
If the case was court referred, the mediator will return it to the court for further formal proceedings. If the agreement is broken you may contact the Court Administrator to determine what further action should be taken. If you have not gone to court, you may wish to file a complaint with the Court Administrator. The mediator can answer you questions about that next step.
Warrants are issued under certain circumstances. They are usually issued when an individual violates an order of the Court, an individual fails to appear in court, or as part of a Criminal Complaint.
Issuance of Warrants. R7:2-2(b)
A summons rather than arrest warrant shall be issued if the defendant is a corporation, partnership or unincorporated association. If the defendant is an individual, a summons rather than a warrant shall issue unless the judge or duly authorized Municipal Court Administrator or Deputy Court Administrator finds that:
1. The defendant has failed to respond to a summons; or
2. There is reason to believe that the defendant is dangerous to himself or herself, to others, or to property; or
3. There is one or more outstanding arrest warrants for the defendant; or
4. The address of the defendant is not known, and the arrest warrant is necessary to subject the defendant to the jurisdiction of the Court; or
5. The defendant cannot be satisfactorily identified; or
6. There is reason to believe that the defendant will not appear in response to the summons.
Failure to Appear after Summons. R 7:2-2(c)
If a defendant who has been served with a summons fails to appear on the return date, an arrest warrant may be issued pursuant to law and rule 7:8-9.
Procedures on Failure to Appear. Rule 7:8-9(a)
If a defendant is any case before the court fails to appear or answer a complaint, the court may either issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest in accordance with R 7:2-2(c) or issue and mail a failure to appear notice to the defendant on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts.
If a failure to appear notice is mailed to the defendant and the defendant fails to comply with the provisions, a warrant may be issued in accordance with R 7:2-2(c).
Driving Privileges, Report to Motor Vehicle Commission. Rule 7:9-9 (b) (1)
Non-Parking Motor Vehicle Cases. If the court has not issued an arrest warrant upon the failure of the defendant to comply with the courts failure to appear notice, the court shall report the failure to appear or answer to the Division of Motor Vehicles on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts within 30 days of the defendant’s failure to appear.
If the Court elects, however, to issue an arrest warrant, it may simultaneously report the failure to answer to the Motor Vehicle Commission on a form approved by the Administrative Director of the Courts.
Driving Privileges, Report to Motor Vehicle Commission Rule 7:8-9 (b) (2)
All Other Cases. In all other cases, whether or not an arrest warrant is issued, the Court may order the suspension of the defendant’s driving privileges or the defendant’s non resident, reciprocity privileges or prohibit the person from receiving or obtaining driving privileges until the matter is adjudicated, or otherwise disposed of.
Summonses may be satisfied, if a mandatory court appearance is not required, either through the mail or online.
Mail Payment of a Summons
Send the amount required to satisfy the summons (see schedule) to the above address, If you want a receipt, include a stamped self addressed envelope with your payment. Please write the summons or complaint number in the memo section of your check or money order.
Mail Payment of a Warrant
If an active arrest warrant has been issued, and would like to satisfy the Warrant by mail you must:
- Provide payment to satisfy the warrant. Please write the warrant number in the memo section of your check or money order.
- Submit a completed, signed Bail Waiver. Mail the payment and the bail waiver to the above address. If you would like a receipt, include a stamped self-addressed envelope. When payment is received the warrant will be recalled and the summons will be satisfied, if it is for a payable offense. If the warrant is for a non-payable offense, please contact the court for instructions.
Summons or Complaint Numbers
The Traffic Summons Number is located at the top left front of your summons and is preceded either by the letter C or SP with a number (ex: SP3). Summonses issued by the NJ State Police have the SP# prefix.
Summons Number Examples
0211 C 000000
0211 SP3 000000
Summonses or Complaints issued by the NJ Transit Police or town ordinances are preceded by TP or SC.
If you have received a criminal complaint, the number is located on the top right and starts with an S or W followed by the year, complaint number and court code (example: W-2003-000999 0211).
On Line (Electronic) Payment of a Summons
You may pay traffic summonses on the web by using your credit card. You can also look up court dates at http://www.NJMCdirect.com
To satisfy a summons electronically, you will need the summons number (above, the information in all three boxes at the top left front of the summons) and the license plate number of the vehicle from the summons.
Public Access & Right to Know
Public Access to Court Records
Right to Know Law, N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1, et seq.
Judicial records are not within the scope of the Right to Know Law. The judiciary is bound by Court Rule 1:38.
Court Rule 1:38 reads in part:
All records which are required to be made, maintained or kept on file by an court, office, or official within the judicial branch of government shall be deemed a public record and shall be available for public inspection and copying, as provided by law, except:
- Personnel and pension records
- Records required by statute or rule to be kept confidential or withheld from indiscriminate public inspection.
- Records ordered by a court to be impounded or kept confidential.
- Records of pre trial intervention programs
- Records of programs approved for operation under Rule 7:8-1 (mediation of minor disputes)
- Administrative reports required to be prepared by the Municipal Court Judges under Rule 1:32
Access to records involving Domestic Violence can be determined only by the Judge.
Access to Court Records
Reasonable Access to Court Records is determined by the Court using the following factors:
- Court size
- Volume of cases
- Available resources
- Existence of records.
Access to records is available only by approval by the court administrator via telephone call or in writing.
If court staff determines a record is not available for public access, an appeal may be made in writing to Judge Anthony Gallina, JMC at the Elmwood Park Municipal Court, 182 Market Street, Elmwood Park, NJ 07407.
Due to the possibility of Expunged records being readable, the court reserves the right to make some pages of the Docket Book "sealed" unless the record can be completely eradicated. Docket Books may be read, but we have no method of making copies of these pages, you must hand copy the information.
Computer Based Records
Computer based records are available only in formats presently available from the ATS/ACS system. The Administrative Office of the Courts will not design programs or reports for specific requested information.
Some records may not be available because they are beyond the retention period allowed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The retention period is from the date of final action on the case. Some retention periods are:
RECORD RETENTION RECORD RETENTION
Court Calendars 2 years Criminal 6 years
Sound Recordings 5 years (DWI) 15 years
Traffic Summons 6 years (non DWI)
Representing Yourself in Court
THINGS TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE YOU REPRESENT YOURSELF IN COURT
Try to get a lawyer
The court system can be complicated and confusing. If you cannot afford a lawyer or do not know how to go about finding a lawyer you can:
- Call the New Jersey Attorney Referral Office in your county, or
- Ask any of the New Jersey Bar Associations for the names of lawyers who may be able to represent you at a reduced price.
NOTE: If you believe you quality for a court appointed attorney, ask the court staff at either the Municipal or Superior Court for more information. The court staff can provide the form needed to apply for a public defender.
What you should expect if you represent yourself
While you have the right to represent yourself in court, you should not expect any special treatment, help, or attention from the court. The following is a list of some things the court staff can and cannot do for you. Please read it carefully before asking the court staff for help.
• We can explain and answer questions about how the court works.
• We can tell you what the requirements are to have you 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 usually answer questions about court deadlines.
• We cannot give you legal advice. Only a lawyer 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 the judge.
If you decide to represent yourself for an appeal of a decision of the judge, please see a member of the court staff for an appeal packet.
The following procedures shall be observed in regards to your summons or complaint.
• Please check the calendar (listing on the wall outside the court room) to make sure your scheduled to appear on that night.
• Every person must speak to the prosecutor before seeing the judge. Once you have entered the court room, you must stand in line to see the prosecutor.
• If you are pleading Not Guilty to a summons or complaint and have not notified the court seven workdays in advance your case will not be heard during this court session.
Please leave the court and call 201-797-6100 the following day to plead not guilty.
• At the beginning of the court the judge will advise you of your rights.
Please pay close attention to these rights. If you do not understand them, you may ask for clarification at the time your case is being heard.
• Court cases are usually heard in the following order:
1. Cases with attorneys
2. Guilty pleas
3. Negotiated settlements
4. Trials (not guilty cases)
• If you intend to ask for a public defender you must meet one of the following qualifications:
1. You are subject to lose your driving privileges, and/or
2. You are subject to incarceration in jail, and/or
3. You are subject to the imposition of a significant fine.
• If you are found guilty and are assessed fines and costs by the judge, you are expected to pay those fines and costs before leaving the court.
• If for some reason you cannot pay the entire amount of your fines and costs, you must fill out an indigence form and have it reviewed by the judge to set up a payment plan.
1. If you fall behind in the payments the court will forward a notice to the Motor Vehicle Commission requesting revocation of your driving privileges.
• The restoration fee, to restore your driving privileges is $100.00
• Restoration of your driving privileges will only be granted when the time payment is fully paid.
• All time payments are a contract with the court, and are subject to acceptance by the judge.
The State of New Jersey changed the penalties for violations of Title 39, the statutes pertaining to motor vehicles in early 2004.
The most recent penalties are as follows:
Failure to report name change - $54
Credentials not in possession - $180
Unclear Plates - $54
Unsafe Vehicle - $54
Lights/Wipers during rain - $54
Maintenance of Lamps - $54
Failure to wear seatbelt - $46
Failure to inspect - $130
Traffic Signal Violation - $85
Failure to keep right - $85
Improper Passing - $85
Speeding - $85-$260
Careless Driving - $85
Parking (NJ State violation) - $54
Handicapped Parking - mandatory court appearance
Parking (town ordinance) - $27
Driving while suspended - mandatory court appearance
Driving while intoxicated - mandatory court appearance
Uninsured motor vehicle - mandatory court appearance
All summonses are subject to an additional penalty of $10.00 if the fine is not paid by the court date.
If the summons has not been satisfied by the court date on the summons, a Failure to Appear (FTA) Notice will be issued. Failure to respond to an ETA notice may resulting the issuance of a warrant for your arrest. In addition to the warrant being issued, your driving privileges may be suspended in the State of New Jersey.
Penalty for the issuance of a warrant is $25.00.
Inquiries about points should not be made through the municipal court. The courts do not asses points, they are assessed by the Motor Vehicle Commission. Points, surcharges, etc. are listed on the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission web site.