Municipal Ordinance Violations

McLaughlin & Nardi’s attorneys represent people and businesses in New Jersey municipal court responding to changes of violations of municipal ordinances.  Municipal ordinances are an important part of life today in New Jersey.

In 1962, New Jersey began to recognize regional concerns of service, planning, and development resulting from rapid population growth, redistribution of the population, and increased urbanization.  Counties began to take on many local duties and responsibilities that municipalities formerly handled.  In 1972, New Jersey allowed each county to reorganize its form of government to address the trend toward increasing federal and state involvement in many areas of government service and to meet the needs of their communities, considering the county’s characteristics, needs, and preference.

Although counties had the option to reorganize, New Jersey law emphasized, “Nothing in the administrative code shall change the duties or powers of county officers whose existence is mandated by the Constitution or shall diminish the duties, responsibilities or powers of any elected or appointed head of the executive branch or chief assistant . . . or county administrator.”

Further, New Jersey courts have emphasized that the state and counties routinely delegate broad powers to municipalities to adopt ordinances reasonably related to the public health, safety, and welfare.  Municipal ordinances can cover areas such as finances and property, contracts, fees or salaries of municipal officers or employees, consumption of alcoholic beverages, loitering, disturbing noises, swimming, annoyances, animal control, boating, fire prevention, cable television, and many other areas.

The New Jersey Constitution directs courts to liberally interpret powers of municipalities in favor of the local governments, with two limits:

  • that the power of municipalities relates to local matters that are necessary for the welfare of local residents, not matters involving state policy or general public interest and applicability; and
  • that municipalities may not enact ordinances for local legislation if the State has “preempted the field,” meaning that the State already has laws in that area, making municipal ordinances inapplicable.
Local ordinances govern a wide range of areas.  Some of these include
  • Local zoning and planning ordinances
  • Local alcoholic beverage control ordinances
  • Regulations regarding shade trees
  • Environmental regulations
  • Parking and traffic
  • Local right to farm ordinances
  • Loitering
  • Noise regulations and disturbing the peace
  • Swimming
  • Animal control
  • Boating, fire prevention, cable television, and many other areas
  • Alarm systems
  • Special improvement or historic districts
  • Redevelopment of property
  • Temporary lottery or bingo licenses
  • Certificates of occupancy
  • Building codes and subcodes
  • Restaurants and food handling
  • Housing and rent control regulations
  • Public smoking
Municipal ordinance violations are important.  Fines can be heavy, and they can impact your ability to run your business, or your home.  Compliance can be expensive.

If you are faced with an ordinance violation, it can be tricky to be sure you are in the appropriate court or even which ordinance or law should apply.  At McLaughlin & Nardi, LLC, our attorneys have experience with municipal courts, and we can sort it out for you.  We defend people and businesses which have been charged with violation of New Jersey municipal court ordinances. Please contact us at 973-890-0004 or e-mail us to see how we can help you.

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