Alta Vista Municipal Court – Alta Vista, KS

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal charges and civil disputes within its geographic area. These courts can be located at the county or city level.

Alta Vista Municipal Court INformation

Court: Alta Vista Municipal Court
Address: “521 Main Street, PO Box 44, Alta Vista, KS 66834”
Phone: 785-499-6620

City: Alta Vista
County: Wabaunsee
State: Kansas

What is the role of the Alta Vista Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Alta Vista Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

In other situations, the role of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family law matters, accident cases, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF affairs adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Alta Vista, Kansas

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses in the U.S.. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better assist their population or to save money on costs. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what makes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony crime, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor crimes and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Alta Vista?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic violations, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known city courts or town courts. Matters are managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to serve for a specific duration.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to police officers in order to protect evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary inquiries to learn if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court Case

The common path of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The following is an overview of the most common steps involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when a person has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to be present at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to respond after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Alta Vista, KS

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed lawyer. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Alta Vista Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can possess penalties up to $1000 or one year in jail. A person’s driving privileges may be suspended for six months if they receive three speeding tickets within 12 months.

The penalties for different charges in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Alta Vista Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of charge they have before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Alta Vista Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Alta Vista, Kansas?

In Kansas, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small jurisdiction and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Alta Vista, Kansas?

Depending on the scope of the municipality, a municipal court can handle a civil division (cases with less than  $15,000 at issue), a traffic/criminal division, or a housing and environmental division. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Alta Vista Municipal Court have?

The number of judges depends on the municipality’s size.

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Kansas?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted based on the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish multiple hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their licenses.