The Clifton Park Town Court is a part of the Unified Court System of the State of New York (www.courts.state.ny.us) and has jurisdiction over all civil actions, such as Small Claims, evictions, etc., criminal cases, violations of town ordinances and vehicle and traffic violations occurring in the Town of Clifton Park. Town Justices are elected to 4 year terms.
Court Clerks perform administrative and clerical work in maintaining court records. Court Clerks are there to be as helpful as possible, but they cannot give legal advice and have no authority to reduce or dismiss a charge or alter fines set by the justices.
The Honorable James F. Hughes – 1982 – Present
Judge Hughes has court on Wednesday evenings:
Small Claims, which need to be scheduled in advance,
The Honorable Robert A. Rybak – 1980 – Present
Judge Rybak has court on Thursday evenings:
Small Claims, which need to be scheduled in advance,
Meeting With the Judge
Within the limits of Standards of Judicial Conduct, both judges are willing to meet with people to discuss any concerns and/or questions that individuals may have. Please contact the Court office to schedule an appointment.
The Office of the Saratoga County District Attorney prosecutes all criminal and vehicle and traffic cases. The Assistant District Attorney is only in court when trials or conferences are scheduled by the Court. If you are an attorney and your client has a traffic infraction, you may contact the Court for the procedure to follow in handling a traffic ticket by mail. All criminal cases require a personal appearance by the defendant.
The Clifton Park Town Court has jurisdiction over small claims which are cases for money damages not exceeding $3,000. To file a small claim, you must be 18 years or older; otherwise, the action must be brought by a parent or legal guardian. The defendant must reside, work or have a place of business in the Town of Clifton Park. The filing fee is $10.00 or $15.00 according to the amount you are suing for. A corporation may not file a Small Claim in a Town Court, but they may file one in a City Court (Saratoga Springs or Mechanicville)
Small claims are mailed by both “Certified Mail – Return Receipt Requested” and by First Class Mail. Therefore, a proper mailing address is required. Post office box addresses are not acceptable. You must also pay for the cost of mailing.
You may download the form you need to file a Small Claims by clicking here. However, you must bring this form to the Court in person. Do not fill out the section dealing with the date and time of the hearing. A Court Clerk will schedule the hearing when you bring the form to the Court. They will also assist you in filling out the form if you have any questions.
A Guide To Small Claims Court
Click Here to View the Guide
The Clifton Park Town Court has Trial Jurisdiction over Misdemeanors or Violations arising out of incidents which are alleged to have occurred in the Town of Clifton Park. The Town Court also has Preliminary Jurisdiction over Felony cases. At the first court appearance, which is called the Arraignment, the Judge advises the defendant of the charges pending in the Court and what his/her rights are. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, he or she can apply to be represented by the Public Defender.
The Clifton Park Town Court handles all traffic tickets which are issued for violations of the Vehicle and Traffic Law which are alleged to have taken place within the Town. It is the obligation of the motorist to respond to the ticket in a timely fashion.
To handle a traffic ticket in our court, you need to review your ticket to determine if it is a “Misdemeanor” or “Traffic Infraction.”
If the “Misdemeanor” box is checked, you must appear in Court on the day and time listed on the ticket to be arraigned by the Judge. For example, Driving While Intoxicated and Aggravated Unlicensed Operation are both “Misdemeanors.” At the first Court appearance, which is called the arraignment, the Judge advises the defendant of the charges pending in the Court and what his/her rights are. If the defendant cannot afford an attorney, he/she can apply to be represented by the Public Defender
If the “Traffic Infraction” box is checked, you can handle the ticket either by appearing in person in Court on the date and time listed on the ticket or by mail.
1. Appearing in Person —
At the first court appearance, which is called the Arraignment, the Judge advises the defendant of the charges pending in the Court and what his/her rights are. The officer will not be present at the arraignment and no trial will be held on the first return date. A defendant will plead either Guilty or Not Guilty. If a Guilty plea is entered, the defendant will have a right to make a statement and the Judge will then impose a fine and/or mandatory surcharge. If a defendant pleads Not Guilty, the case will be adjourned for a trial at a later date.
2. Mail Pleas —
If you choose to handle a traffic ticket by mail, you can plead either Guilty or Not Guilty by signing the appropriate section on the ticket and mailing it to the Court by the date indicated on the ticket. Please make sure you give the court a current mailing address if the address on the ticket is no longer valid.
If you plead Not Guilty, you will receive a notice of a trial date.
If you plead Guilty, you will receive a letter telling you how much your fine and/or surcharge are.
If you do not hear back from the Court within six weeks from the scheduled return date, please call the Court to make sure that your plea was received.
In New York State, Town Judges may perform civil wedding ceremonies. To schedule a wedding, Judge Hughes can be contacted at 371-1299 and Judge Rybak can be contacted at 877-7129.