Astoria Municipal Court – Astoria, OR

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil matters within its geographic area. These courts can be located at the city or county tier.

Astoria Municipal Court INformation

Court: Astoria Municipal Court
Address: “1095 Duane Street, Astoria, OR 97103”
Phone: 503-325-3939

City: Astoria
County: Clatsop
State: Oregon

What is the role of the Astoria Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Astoria Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

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

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can not exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and larger civil matters.

TYPES OF Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Astoria, Oregon

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

This can be done to better assist their population or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony case, 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Astoria?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Cases are handled by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to help for a specific time.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

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

The typical process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal courthouse case can be complicated. The following is an overview of the steps involved in a typical municipal court matter.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when an individual has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to be present at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate

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

Municipal Court Penalties in Astoria, OR

Penalties change often, which is why it’s best to speak with licensed lawyer near you. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be accurate for the Astoria Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can have penalties up to $1000 or one year in local 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 offenses in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Astoria Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government could 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 matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be present.

FAQs ABOUT the Astoria Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Astoria, Oregon?

In Oregon, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Astoria, Oregon?

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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Astoria Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Oregon?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete several hours of ongoing material every period to maintain their credentials.