About the Town Justice Court
Town and Village Courts are referred to as “The courts closest to the people.” For this reason they offer a variety of services as needed for their particular town.
As outlined in the New York State Constitution, Carlton Town Court employs two part-time Town Justices. Each is elected to a four-year term, expiring in different years. There is no limit to the number of terms a Town Justice may serve.
Justices are required to complete a very intense Basic Training initially upon election or appointment. Additionally they are required to attend several trainings annually to keep up with our ever changing laws and regulations.
Town Justices are available for arraignments for Carlton as well as the neighboring towns of Gaines, Kendall and Yates on a 24 hour / 7 day a week schedule.
Town Courts handle the following types of cases:
- Alcohol Beverage Control Law
- Civil Practice Law & Rules
- Contract Law
- Criminal Jury Trials
- Criminal Procedure Law
- Domestic Relations Law
- Environmental Conservation Law
- Family Offenses (Spousal Abuse)
- Local Laws & Ordinances
- Marriage Ceremonies
- Mental Hygiene Law
- Navigational Law
- Parks & Recreation Law
- Penal Law
- Personal & Property Torts
- Public Health Law
- Real Property Actions & Proceedings Law
- Small Claims
- Tax Law
- Transportation Law
- Vehicle & Traffic Law
- Zoning Laws & Ordinances
- Criminal Case Jurisdiction and Functions of the Town Court:
- Court Fees:
Town Courts have original jurisdiction over any individual charged with any violation, misdemeanor, or felony matter, which occurred within its geographical area. Town Justices are the local magistrates, before which any individual charged with a crime must be brought for an arraignment. At the arraignment the accused is formally read his or her charges and advised of their right to an attorney. At that time, the Court determines the matter of setting bail or releasing the accused on his or her own recognizance. The Town of Carlton Justices may also arraign misdemeanor cases for the towns of Gaines, Kendall and Yates. Those cases will then be forwarded to their respected court for further disposition.
In the case of a misdemeanor, such as some DWI, Assult 3rd, Petit Larceny or Criminal Contempt 2nd, the justice court has jurisdiction in the matter through trial. The defendant is entitled to a bench or a jury trial. Jury trials in Justice Courts consist of a six (6) person jury. A unanimous vote is required for conviction. The sentence for a misdemeanor could include up to one year of incarceration plus three years probation in addition to fines and surcharges.
In the case of a violation, the defendant is entitled to a bench trial. If convicted the sentence could include up to fifteen days of incarceration plus fines and surcharges.
Carlton Justices also arraign Felony cases for any town or village within Orleans County. Following arraignment, the Court will either set bail, release the accused on his or her own recognizance or hold without bail. If the accused has been convicted of two prior felonies, and is currently charged with a felony, the Court must hold the defendant without bail. If the accused is not released, the court must hold a preliminary hearing within 120 hours of the defendants arrest or within 144 hours if a holiday or weekend intervenes during the time period. If the Court determines that there is reasonable cause to believe a felony was committed, the accused is turned over to the Orleans County Grand Jury.
- Department of Motor Vehicles Point System:
- Vehicle and Traffic Matters:
Speeding 1 to 10 mph over posted limit
Speeding 11 to 20 mph over posted limit
Speeding 21 to 30 mph over posted limit
Speeding 31 to 40 mph over posted limit
Speeding 41 or More mph over posted limit
Failure to Stop for School Bus
Following too Close
Failure to Yield Right of Way
Failure to obey Traffic Signal, Stop Sign or Yield Sign
Improper Passing/Lane Change
Leaving the Scene of Accident: Property/Animal
Child Safety Restraint
Any other moving violation
In addition to fines on traffic violations, the State of New York imposes mandatory surcharges on moving violations in the amount of $85.00 and equipment violations in the amount of $55.00.
- Small Claims:
- Civil Cases:
- Landlord/Tenant Issues:
Town Courts may hear Small Claims cases up to a maximum of $3,000.00. Jurisdiction in Small Claims cases include bringing suit against those persons who reside within the Town of Carlton, do business in the Town of Carlton, or the contract in question was entered into in the Town of Carlton. A Small Claims action may not be brought against a corporation.
The party bringing the suit is the plaintiff. Once a Small Claims case is filed the defendant or party being sued can file a counterclaim against the plaintiff. This can be done prior to the hearing date or may be filed as late as the date and time of trial. The plaintiff may then request an adjournment to prepare a defense to the countersuit.
Small Claims cases are generally held without the assistance of an attorney. The primary reason for Small Claims is to keep it inexpensive and uncomplicated.
The burden of proof in Small Claims is with the Plaintiff (the person initiating the action).
The cost to file a small claim suit is $10.00 for a suit up to $1000.00 and $15.00 for anything in excess of $1000.00.