Do You Really Need a Lawyer in Municipal Court?

Do You Really Need a Lawyer in Municipal Court?

Most people never have to spend even a day in court. When they do, it’s typically in the Municipal Court. Sometimes called “the people’s court,” Municipal Court handles matters ranging from traffic tickets to misdemeanor criminal offenses. For people who are required to appear in Municipal Court, it’s sometimes tempting to go it alone, largely because they believe legal representation to be prohibitively expensive.

This is a critical mistake.  A lawyer maybe expensive, but oftentimes going to court without a lawyer is considerably more expensive.

Many people don’t consider how serious the consequences of being found guilty in a matter before a Municipal Court can be. A defendant may face losing his driving privileges. Maybe being found guilty will give an individual with an otherwise clean record a criminal conviction. Moreover, a Municipal Court defendant may be required to pay substantial fines and may even be looking at a sentence in the county jail.

Clearly, the consequences in Municipal Court matters can be serious and far reaching. Chances are good that you’ve never made a court appearance before, and this isn’t the type of situation where it’s wise to learn through trial and error. You need experienced, competent legal advice and someone who can defend your rights.

Legal representation in Municipal Court likely costs a good deal less than you imagine. Indeed, the very aim of a defense attorney is to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed, hiring legal counsel can really be seen as a bargain.

Being required to appear in Municipal Court is distressing. You aren’t familiar with the process the way that the other participants are. This grants them significant advantages. However, you can gain some advantages of your own by engaging a seasoned defense attorney. Call or click today to schedule a free initial consultation.

Rickards defeats DUI in Milltown, New Jersey

The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards recently represented a client charged with a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in Milltown, New Jersey.  The client was accused of having caused a serious accident while driving under the influence of drugs.  When the police arrived on the scene, the client was sitting by his disabled car, and the police indicated that he smelled of marijuana, and exhibited psycho-physical signs evidencing same.  The police then required the client to provide a urine sample, which was to demonstrate his marijuana usage.  In addition to be charged with a DUI, the client was also charged criminally with drug charges.

Rickards was able to get the DUI charges thrown out because the State repeatedly failed to provide the lab reports for the urine specimen, thereby saving the client a mandatory seven to twelve-month loss of license, and mandatory jail time.  The criminal charges were converted into a conditional dismissal, which allowed for the charges to ultimately be dismissed after one year with the defendant’s compliance.

Rickards Wins $150,000 Arbitration Award in Auto Accident Case

The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., LLC, working as “of counsel” to Weinman & Arango, LLC, has secured a $150,000 arbitration award on behalf of a client who was struck by a passing motorist in Spotswood in 2010. The motorist had claimed that he had never seen the pedestrian, even though he was supposedly paying attention to the road and his lights were working. The award was given after reports were presented from an accident reconstructionist who opined that the driver was likely exceeding the speed limit by approximately 10 miles per hour. Additional reports unearthed during the discovery process revealed that the driver had an extensive history of driving infractions — including two license suspensions — along with a pattern of getting into car accidents and then claiming he had never seen the person or vehicle that he had hit.

Rickards Secures $72,500 Car Accident Settlement

Morristown, New Jersey:  auto accident Attorney Jordan B. Rickards has secured a $72,500 settlement for the driver of a vehicle who was hit by another motorist who was alleged to have run through a red light.  The victim suffered several bulging and herniated disks as a result of the accident, reported difficulty performing weight-bearing tasks at his job, as well as resuming day to day activities.  The case took nearly two years to litigate, and was amicably settled shortly after arbitration.

Rickards Wins $50,000 Settlement For Shoulder Sprain

The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., LLC, has finalized a $50,000 settlement for a client who had sprained his shoulder in a motorcycle accident. The defendant cut off our client as he was lawfully and non-negligently proceeding down the road.  The defendant told the police that she did not see our client at first, and only saw him once she had already begun her turn.  She stopped suddenly, and in so doing forced our client to skid his motorcycle to avoid hitting her, resulting in a grade 1 sprain to his AC joint (shoulder).  After proceeding to arbitration, the parties agreed to settle the matter.

Rickards Defends Umpire Accused Of Punching Coach

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As reported on NBC New York:  Authorities have accused an umpire in New Jersey of punching a Little League coach in the face and leaving him bloody.

Piscataway Police charged 21-year-old Dave Delnegro III of Middlesex with simple assault at a youth sporting event.

Coach Joe Bellamy claims the umpire attacked him after the coach questioned Delnegro for calling a strike on a pitch that bounced in front of the catcher during the second inning of the game.

“I confronted the umpire about pushing the game along too quickly and what the rush was,” he told NBC 4 New York. “Things escalated — he wasn’t happy with that — and we had some words, and he became very irate and he began to punch me in the face. This was on the field, in front of the children.”

A grandfather of one the Little League players was sitting behind the fence a few feet from home plate and described the umpire getting “angry.”

He “started punching him right in the face, three times,” said Rainer Layug. “I was astonished. I didn’t realize the umpire would do that. Then the blood started coming out.”

Witnesses said the coach never struck back.

“It was traumatic enough that he did what he did to me, but I didn’t want to make it any worse by hitting him back,” said Bellamy, who received stitches to the mouth. “I spoke to the kids and explained to them that just because someone hits you doesn’t mean you have to hit them back.”

Little League player Matthew, 9, described feeling scared as he watched his coach being assaulted.

“Our coach wasn’t doing anything, just asking why he was rushing,” said Matthew. “And then [the umpire] just started punching him.”

Delnegro is a Rutgers pre-med student and has no criminal record, according to his lawyer Jordan B. Rickards. He umpires to make extra money while he’s in school.

Rickards said his client felt threatened by the coach, “who became verbally abusive to the point of belligerence over a call that Mr. Delnegro has made,” he said in a statement.

“In an attempt to maintain order, Mr. Delnegro ejected the irate man from the game, but rather than exit the field, Mr. Delnegro indicated that Mr. Bellamy advanced upon him in a loud, aggressive and threatening manner, and actually made physical contact with Mr. Delnegro, such that Mr. Delnegro feared for his safety,” said Rickards.

Bellamy said he did not touch the umpire.

“If I was to hit him back regardless, I would have broken the code of conduct,” said Bellamy. “I have quite a few kids to coach yet, and that’s what I intend on doing.”

Bellamy, who coaches his young two sons on the Little League team, said he plans to return to the field for a game Thursday.

See NBC’s coverage here:

See The Star Ledger’s coverage here:

See The Home News coverage here:


Rickards settles $100,000 personal injury lawsuit

The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards is please to announce that it has settled a personal injury lawsuit involving a motor vehicle accident for $100,000.  This sum represents the maximum available settlement limit under the applicable insurance policy.  The client had been wrongfully hit by another driver who had been operating her vehicle in a negligent manner.

“We’re always very happy with a six-figure settlement, especially in an instance such as this, where $100,000 was the maximum available,” said attorney Jordan B. Rickards.


The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards has secured a $224,000 judgment against a local developer in a contract dispute.  The client had loaned the defendant a sizable sum of money for the purposes of developing land in Alabama. After it became apparent that the defendant had no real intention to return the loan, the client retained The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards to pursue her claim. Through advanced motion work, Rickards was able to convince the court to suppress the defendant’s defenses and pleadings, and to award the exact amount being sought.

“I’m very happy to report that we have not only been awarded a judgment that reflects every penny that was taken, but also about $40,000 in interest. We literally could not have asked for more.”


The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., LLC, has secured an arbitration award in the amount of $181,000 in a personal injury matter.  The case involved a client who had been driving her car when she was struck by another driver who was carelessly backing out of a driveway without looking.  The award is reflective of the client’s medical bills, and pain and suffering.

“We’re obviously very happy with the result. We were able to secure an arbitration award that covered every penny of outstanding medical expenses, along with $90,000 to compensate our client for pain and suffering.”

The Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq., LLC, routinely handles personal injury matters involving automobile accidents.

Rickards Sues Old Bridge Democrats On Behalf Of Taxpayers

–BY CHRIS ZAWISTOWSKI, Staff Writer, Old Bridge Sentinel:

OLD BRIDGE — Eight prominent township Republicans have filed a lawsuit against the municipality, demanding that its controversial early retirement ordinance be repealed.

The lawsuit was filed in state Superior Court by Old Bridge Republican Party Chairwoman Anita Greenberg, as well as the four GOP Township Council members — Mary Sohor, Richard Greene, Lucille Panos and Brian Cahill — Republican mayoral candidate Owen Henry, and council candidates Eleanor Walker and James Anderson.

Jordan Rickards, the attorney for the Republicans, said the case has been sent to state Superior Court in Monmouth County in order to avoid any conflicts of interest.

The Township Council adopted the ordinance inMay in a 5-4 vote, with the Democrats in favor and Republicans against. The ordinance reduced the amount of time an employee must have worked in Old Bridge from 25 to 15 years before they can retire and collect health benefits. The employee must have worked for another public agency for at least 10 years, for a total of 25 years of public employment.

Supporters and opponents of the ordinance have debated whether it will accomplish the stated goal of saving the township money as the work force is reduced through attrition.

The lawsuit charges that Councilman Bob Volkert, a Democrat, should not have been permitted to vote on the ordinance because his son is a police officer who could benefit from the ordinance.

“There’s an obvious conflict of interest with having Councilman Volkert vote in favor of an ordinance that so obviously benefits his own son,” Rickards said.

According to the township’s Conflict of Interest Policy, “a potential or actual conflict of interest occurs whenever an employee, including a township official, is in a position to influence a township decision that may result in a personal gain for the employee or an ‘immediate relative.’” The policy says an immediate relative includes a spouse or significant other, child, parent, stepchild, sibling, grandparent, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandchild, niece, nephew, uncle, aunt or any person related by blood or marriage residing in an employee’s household.

During the council’s discussions on the ordinance in May, Panos pointed out that Volkert’s son was among those on a list of 27 eligible employees who could take advantage of the ordinance, and asked the township attorney if his vote should count.

Volkert, in response to Panos’ concerns, said that his son would not be eligible until 2015 and he did not see why that would affect the vote.

The council then tabled the vote to a later meeting, when Assistant Township Attorney Carol Berlen informed the council that Volkert was indeed eligible to vote.

Berlen, in an advisory ethics opinion based on relevant statues, ordinances, codes of ethics and case law, wrote that Volkert should not be disqualified from voting because his son’s benefit from the ordinance would be “sufficiently remote and speculative at best.”

Also, in the four years before Volkert’s son would qualify for the benefit, the ordinance could be repealed, changed or amended, she wrote.

Berlen also noted that the state’s ethics statute, the township’s employee policies and procedures manual and “pay-to-play” ordinance all distinguish an immediate family member as one where the family member resides in the same household. Because Volkert’s son has not lived with him for many years, Berlen wrote that this further distances “the chances for an appearance of impropriety.”

“As such, the situation is too remote and speculative to warrant disqualification of the council member,” Berlen wrote.

But the lawsuit claims Berlen ignored the specific definitions of an “immediate relative” and that Volkert’s son would directly benefit from the early retirement ordinance.

Since the ordinance passed 5-4, and would have been a tie had Volkert recused himself from the vote, the lawsuit asks the court to void the early retirement ordinance.

Aside from the issue of the vote, Greenberg said the ordinance should be repealed because there is no proven cost savings, no age restriction on who can retire, and no limit on when the ordinance ends.

“Thiswill create a huge financial problem for the township,” she said. “It’s not sustainable. The township cannot afford to pay for people to get full health benefits after 15 years of service.”

Mayor Patrick Gillespie, a Democrat, said the lawsuit is partisan politics, and that it demonstrates that the Republicans have no real answers to the township’s financial problems.

“ … It just demonstrates that they’re not interested in providing leadership, they are only interested in providing partisanship,” Gillespie said.

Because the township will need to pay for legal services to defend itself against the lawsuit, Gillespie said that if it gets dismissed from the courts, he will direct the township to seek damages from the parties who filed it.

“It’s frivolous and completely without merit,” he said.

 Call ( 732) 297-8200 or Text Jordan