Appeals

From the Municipal Court:

You have 20 days from the date of a guilty verdict or plea from the municipal court to file an appeal to the local county Superior Court – Law Division.

An appeal from the municipal court to the Law Division is “de novo”, or “on the record”. In other words, it is based on the transcript and record created in the municipal court. It cannot go beyond issues raised on the record in the municipal court. The Law Division judge is supposed to give deference to the municipal court judge’s determinations of credibility of the witnesses, but he or she reviews the record as if he or she was the municipal court judge, assessing the facts anew, and applying the law to the case.

This appeal usually takes about three to four months to complete.

From the Law Division:

The next level of appeal after the Law Division is to the Appellate Division, which is headquartered in Trenton. You have 45 days from the date of the Law Division decision to file an appeal with the Appellate Division. The case is presented to a panel of two or three judges through the written briefs of the parties, and it is sometimes argued orally.

The Appellate Division will take the facts as determined by the municipal court and Law Division and apply the law.

This appeal usually takes six to twelve months to complete.

From the Appellate Division:

You have 20 days to file a Notice of Petition for Certification from the Appellate Division decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court, and then 10 days later must file the Petition for Certification. Unless the Appellate Division had a split decision between three judges, appeals to the Supreme Court are not automatically accepted by that court, hence the petition process. In DWI matters, the Supreme Court usually only accepts cases that are of constitutional merit and present substantial questions of law not previously addressed by that court.

The Court will usually notify the parties within a couple of months whether the case will be accepted for argument.

Please contact us to discuss your case, and how we can help you with your appeal.