To resolve a traffic ticket infraction in the local court, review your ticket to determine if it is a “misdemeanor” or “traffic infraction.” You can locate this by looking at the ticket approximately 2/3 down on the right hand side. If the misdemeanor box is checked, you must appear in Court to be arraigned by the Judge.
If the traffic infraction box is checked, you have the following options: You can plead guilty or not guilty. If your plea is guilty, complete the guilty section and either mail it to the Court or bring it to the Court. Be sure to include your current mailing address. You will then be notified by the Court about the amount of the fine due. You must contact the Court within 60 days of the issuance of the ticket in order to avoid a suspension on your driver’s license. You also will be subject to license suspension for failure to pay a fine set by the Judge after a guilty plea or finding of guilt at trial. If you receive a letter about license suspension, call the Court immediately to address the issue before additional lift suspension fees will be imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.
If your plea is not guilty, complete the not guilty section and mail it to the clerk’s office by the return date on the ticket. Again, be sure to include your current mailing address. A letter will be mailed to you indicating a specific date and time to appear. The Officer that issued the ticket also prosecutes the case except for tickets issued by New York State Police which are prosecuted by the Town Attorney.
If you have lost your ticket, you can plead not guilty using this form or plead guilty using this form.
It is your responsibility to give the court your new address if you move.
The Court has jurisdiction for summary proceedings (evictions) of property located within the Town. For more information, please click here.
To file a small claim in the Town Court, the person you are suing must reside, work, or have a place of business in the Town of Cortlandt. The filing fee is $10.00 for lawsuits for amounts up to $1,000 and $15.00 for lawsuits for amounts greater than $1,000 up to and including $3,000. Please click here to review the small claims guide.
You must be 18 years or older to bring an action in small claims; otherwise, the action must be brought by a parent or guardian. Small claims are mailed certified return receipt and first class mail, therefore, a proper mailing address is required. The small claims application can be found here, but no mail in applications will be accepted. Please call the Court before coming in to file.
The Court has jurisdiction for civil action cases for up to $3,000. The plaintiff or defendant must either reside, have a place of business in, or be employed in the Town of Cortlandt.
Criminal Cases: What Happens When Someone is Arrested at 1AM?
The Town Justices are on call twenty-four hours a day for arraignments for any cases whereby a defendant is not given a desk appearance ticket by law enforcement. The Justices arraign violation, misdemeanor, and felony cases. At an arraignment, the defendant has the right to counsel and is formally advised of the charges pending in the Court and further advised of his/her rights. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, there is an application to be completed and, if eligible, the Court would appoint an attorney to represent him/her. Defendants who cannot afford an attorney will have an attorney for arraignment no matter what time it is.
Raise the Age and Family Court
Both Town Justices have been appointed as Accessible Magistrates with special training to arraign and handle juvenile offenders and adolescent offenders when the Youth Parts are not in session such as in the middle of the night.
Orders of Protection
The Justices have the authority to issue order of protection as authorized by law in criminal cases. They can also issue ex parte Family Court orders when Family Court is not in session.
Interpreters and Accessibility
If you need an interpreter or other accommodation, please call the court in advance of your court date. On regular court dates (Mondays and Thursdays) an interpreter for the Spanish language is always available. Interpreters for other languages are brought in as well whenever needed. Your Town Justices are committed to providing a court system whereby everyone can understand the proceedings and meaningfully participate. During off hour arraignments (not during a regular court date), a 24 hour phone interpreter service is available.
Did you know that your Town Justices can perform weddings? Weddings can be scheduled for regular court dates. Please call the Court to see availability and other requirements. You will need to bring the required two witnesses as the Court does not provide witnesses.
There is no eating or drinking inside the courtroom. No use of electronic devices which includes no texting. Proper attire should be worn to court: no flip flops, shorts, or tank tops. Only attorneys sit in the first row.