Athena Municipal Court – Athena, OR

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited area of authority over criminal offenses and civil matters inside its area. These courts can be located at the city or county level.

Athena Municipal Court INformation

Court: Athena Municipal Court
Address: “215 S 3rd Street, PO Box 686, Athena, OR 97813”
Phone: 541-566-3862

City: Athena
County: Umatilla
State: Oregon

What is the role of the Athena Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Athena 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, accident cases, more serious criminal charges, or breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Athena, Oregon

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courthouses in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their citizens or to save money on costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

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

what is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Athena?

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

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against individuals by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to establish if there is enough evidence to charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

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

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when someone has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court will need to show up at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they fail to appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail sentence 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Athena, OR

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

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can have penalties up to $1k 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 courthouses vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Athena 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 an individual might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Athena Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Athena, Oregon?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Athena, Oregon?

Depending on the size 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. More serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Athena Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Oregon?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to the number of people. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their credentials.