FAQs by State

New Hampshire

  • How are the courts structured in New Hampshire?

New Jersey

  • What is the difference between Superior Court and Municipal Court in New Jersey?
  • What is the New Jersey PROMIS/Gavel System?
  • What is PTI?
  • How do I obtain DUI cases in New Jersey?
  • What happens to a case once it has been transferred to Family Court?


  • What is the ARD Program?
  • Should the record of an applicant claiming to have completed the ARD Program been expunged?
  • What are Magistrate and Municipal courts?

New Hampshire

Q: How are the courts structured in New Hampshire?

A: The New Hampshire Judicial Branch includes the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, and the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court has three divisions: the District Division, the Probate Division and the Family Division. Cases are handled as follows:

The Supreme Court handles civil, criminal and juvenile appeals and matters involving administrative agencies. It also handles some original petitions, such as a writ of habeas corpus filed by an inmate seeking release from prison.

The Superior Court has jurisdiction over a wide variety of cases, including criminal, and civil cases, and provides the only forum in this state for trial by jury.

The Circuit Court Probate Division has jurisdiction over trusts, wills and estates, adoptions, termination of parental rights, guardianships, equity matters, name changes and involuntary commitments.

The Circuit Court District Division has jurisdiction over misdemeanor and violation level criminal offenses, small claims, landlord/tenant matters, stalking cases and civil cases which do not exceed $25,000. In addition, a party may go to a District Division to obtain an emergency order of protection in a domestic violence matter. Some District Divisions also handle juvenile matters and hearings in domestic violence matters; however in counties where the Family Division has been instituted that court would not address those issues. Lastly, the District Divisions handle appeals of gun permit denials, land use violations and replevin. In some matters the jurisdiction of the District Division is concurrent with the Superior Court, meaning that a party could go to either.

The Circuit Court Family Division jurisdiction includes divorce, parenting disputes, child support, domestic violence, guardianship, termination of parental rights, abuse and neglect cases, children in need of supervision, delinquencies, and some adoptions.

New Jersey

Q: What’s the difference between Superior Court and Municipal Court in New Jersey?

A: Superior Court hears cases involving criminal, civil and family law. A majority of criminal cases heard at the Superior Court contain “indictable” offenses. Criminal case information can be obtained at each of the 21 Superior Courts in New Jersey by using the public access terminals containing the statewide criminal database called the Promis / Gavel.

Municipal Court hears a great variety of cases. Municipal Court is where cases involving motor-vehicles offenses, such as illegal parking, speeding and driving while intoxicated, are heard.

Municipal Courts also hear cases involving minor criminal offenses such as simple assault, trespassing, and shoplifting, some of which can be transferred in from the Superior Court. In New Jersey, these minor crimes are known as “disorderly persons” offenses. Cases involving hunting, fishing and boating laws and even minor disputes between neighbors are also heard in Municipal Courts.

Municipal Courts are operated by the city, township or borough in which the courts are located. There are 539 Municipal Courts in the state.

Q: What is the New Jersey Promis/Gavel System?

A: The Promis/Gavel system is an automated criminal case tracking system available at all Superior Courts in New Jersey. It contains information concerning defendants who have been charged with indictable offenses and tracks the processing of those defendants from initial arrest through appellate review. This system provides the function of docketing, indexing, noticing, calendaring, statistical reporting, case management reporting, and so forth. At the present time, 100% of the statewide criminal caseload is handled by Promis/Gavel.

Q: What is PTI?

A: PTI stands for Pre-Trial Intervention Program. It provides defendants, generally first-time offenders, with opportunities for alternatives to the traditional criminal justice process of ordinary prosecution. PTI seeks to render early rehabilitative services when such services can reasonably be expected to deter future criminal behavior. The PTI program is based on a rehabilitative model that recognizes that there may be an apparent causal connection between the offense charged and the rehabilitative needs of a defendant. Further, the rehabilitative model emphasizes that social, cultural, and economic conditions often result in a defendant’s decision to commit a crime.

Simply stated, PTI strives to solve personal problems which tend to result from the conditions that appear to cause crime, and ultimately, to deter future criminal or disorderly behavior by a defendant.

If a defendant does not successfully complete the PTI program, then the defendant is terminated from the PTI program and the case is returned to the trial list.

If a defendant successfully completes all the conditions of PTI, then the original charges are dismissed and there is no record of conviction, however, the case is NOT automatically expunged. The case information is still obtainable on the in-court Promis/Gavel system. The defendant is still required to file for expungement for they so desire.

Q: How do I obtain DUI cases in New Jersey?

A: In the state of New Jersey, DUI cases are held at the municipal court level and are considered traffic offenses. In order to obtain DUI information, direct contact with the municipal court which held the original case would need to be made. DUI cases are still considered public information.

Q: What happens to a case once it has been transferred to Family Court?

A: If a criminal case being held at Superior Court is transferred to family court, it is no longer considered public information. The plaintiff, defendant, and their respective attorneys are the only people allowed to view or obtain any information in regards to the case.


Q: What is the ARD Program?

A: ARD is a second chance program for first offenders of non-violent crimes. If you are admitted into the program, the charge is held in abeyance. (deferred adjudication) ARD is short for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition. By admitting first time PA  offenders into the ARD program the state of Pennsylvania is able to avoid lengthy court proceedings and the defendant is able to have their case expunged from their criminal record once they complete the ARD program.

Q: A record was returned for an applicant who claims to have completed the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) Program. Shouldn’t their record have been expunged?

A: Not necessarily. Once a defendant completes the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition Program they may petition to have their record expunged, but this does not happen automatically. This is a common misconception about the program. The record will remain public information until the petition is accepted and processed, which could take 30 days to 6 months depending on the county.

Q: What are Magistrate and Municipal courts?

A: Magistrate and Municipal courts are what are known as “Minor Courts” in Pennsylvania. This is where preliminary arraignments and hearings will take place, as well as the determination as to whether or not the case will be moved up to Common Pleas. Summary, traffic, and low-grade misdemeanor charges can be disposed at this level, but appeals are sent to Common Pleas.

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As we continue to face this unprecedented time for our generation...as a nation and across the globe, we at County House Research remain committed to being your resource and providing you the best service possible during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

First and foremost, our deepest condolences go out to those friends and families who have lost loved ones during this time. May you know G-d's deepest peace and comfort as you continue forward.

With many courts closed to the public across the nation, we remain hopeful that this will soon be over, and businesses can start to heal.

If you have questions about jurisdictions that are still available or just want to say hello (!), please contact Prissy Hamilton at (215) 717-7433 x25.

We will continue to update you on changes as new information becomes available.

Thank you again to all of our industry partners for their support during these difficult and uncertain times.
We wish all our clients and colleagues safety and good health.

Blessing of peace on you all during this time!

Your family at CHR
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County House Research remains committed to providing you the best service possible during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

We continue to provide full service in:
Cook County, Illinois
New Hampshire
NH State Police
New Jersey
Philadelphia Civil
West Virginia

Other jurisdictions may be available.
If you need searches in a jurisdiction not listed above, or if you have questions, please contact Prissy Hamilton at (215) 717-7433 x25.

We will continue to update you on changes as new information becomes available.

Thank you to all our industry partners for their support during these difficult and uncertain times. We wish all our clients and colleagues safety and good health.


COVID-19 Information Resources:
Here are some resources to help you navigate the coming weeks.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)

World Health Organization (WHO)

U.S. Department of State

Stay safe!
Your team at
County House Research, Inc
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Happy Saint Patrick's Day from CHR!

Saint Patrick was kidnapped from Britain when he was 16 and taken to Ireland, where he was enslaved and worked as a shepherd. He escaped and returned to Britain after six years. After becoming a priest, he was led back to Ireland by a dream and returned, sharing the love and hope of G-d in the land of his former captivity.

As we all deal with health protocols and navigate this situation together, may we find "gold" in the things we are grateful for, focus on solutions and keep pushing through! There is always a bigger plan.

We're here to assist in any way we can. Stay safe!

Your team at
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Dear Clients and Colleagues,

In the face of difficulties arising from the current outbreak of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), we want to assure you that we remain deeply committed to our “It’s Our Search Too” philosophy. More than just a motto, It’s Our Search Too means that will do whatever we can to continue providing you with the best service possible.

Our Work Place
The best way to ensure that there are no interruptions in service is to take care of the people who make up the County House Research team. In keeping with recent health advisories, those CHR team members who are able to work from home are now doing so. We are also monitoring the situation in the courthouses to determine any health and safety considerations affecting County House Research employees. If we determine that there is a threat to the health and safety of our team members, we will communicate that information to you at the earliest possible time.

Courthouse Closures
We anticipate that over the course of the next few weeks, courthouses throughout the country will close sporadically in order to assess conditions and clean facilities. We will keep you updated on any courthouse closures or service interruptions as we learn about them. Our researchers are in continuous contact with the various courthouses we serve. If service is not available, we will communicate that information to you as soon as possible.

Current Closures
Currently, all Massachusetts courthouses will be closed on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Massachusetts courthouses are rescheduled to open on Wednesday, March 18. Will keep you apprised of conditions as information becomes available.

Information Resources
As those in our industry know only too well, good information is the best tool for making good decisions. Here are some resources to help you navigate the coming weeks.

Center for Disease Control (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
U.S. Department of State

We wish you all our clients and colleagues good health in the weeks ahead. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Prissy Hamilton at (215) 717-7433, x.25 or phamilton@countyhouseresearch.com.

Thank you very much.

B. Zimmerman, President
County House Research, Inc. | 1500 John F Kennedy Blvd, Suite 330 Philadelphia, PA 19102-1750
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In light of the #Massachusetts Governor’s Declaration, #court leaders closed the Trial #Courts to the #public yesterday and today, March 16 & 17.

We will continue to keep you updated on court #delays and #closures as we are made aware.

As #business closures and #event #cancellations continue in an effort to #mitigate the spread of the #Corona #virus, be #safe, follow the recommended #hygiene protocol, stay #positive and enjoy this unexpected time with #family!
#Massachusetts #delays #closure #coronavirus #safety
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