Belen Municipal Court – Belen, NM

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil matters inside its location. These courts can be located at the city or county level.

Belen Municipal Court INformation

Court: Belen Municipal Court
Address: “525 Becker Avenue, Belen, NM 87002”
Phone: 505-966-2670

City: Belen
County: Valencia
State: New Mexico

What is the role of the Belen Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic tickets. Courts like Belen Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

On the other hand, the role 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 cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

County courts 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 cases and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF Legal Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Belen, New Mexico

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 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 will be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, small criminal charges and code violations.

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

how are cases managed in the municipal court in Belen?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known city courts or town courts. Cases are managed 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 period.

Judges manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to protect evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to determine if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal court case can be complicated. The following material is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when an individual has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The individual who has received the summons will need to be present at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they fail to appear, 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 Belen, NM

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

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can carry 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 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 could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Belen Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Belen Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Belen, New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts will 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 Belen, New Mexico?

Depending on the area 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 Belen Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in New Mexico?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish many hours of ongoing material every year to maintain their licenses.