A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its geographic area. These courts can be located at the county or city level.
Bellingham Municipal Court INformation
Court: Bellingham Municipal Court
Address: “2014 C Street, Bellingham, WA 98225”
What is the purpose of the Bellingham Municipal Court?
Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Bellingham Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.
On the other hand, 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 lawsuits.
County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can not exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felonies and larger civil matters.
TYPES OF affairs HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Bellingham, Washington
Municipal courts are the entry level of courthouses in the U.S.. 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 help their population or to save money on costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level crimes and code violations.
You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor 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 is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Bellingham?
Judges manage hearings to determine:
- Probable cause for arrest
- Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
- Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
- Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
- start preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to issue a charge
The usual process of a Municipal Court matter
First Step: Issuance of Summons
Second Step: Show Up before Judge or Magistrate
Municipal Court Penalties in Bellingham, WA
Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed lawyer near you. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Bellingham Municipal Court.
A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can possess penalties up to $1,000.00 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 crimes in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an charges. 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.
Bellingham Municipal Court Records
Municipal Court records from a municipal court could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the 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 present.
Common Questions ABOUT the Bellingham Municipal Court
What is municipal court in Bellingham, Washington?
In Washington, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanor crimes.
What does the municipal court handle in Bellingham, Washington?
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 deal with by higher authorities.
How many judges does the Bellingham Municipal Court have?
The count of judges depends on the municipality’s population.
How are cases heard in municipal courts in Washington?
A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated based on population. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete multiple hours of ongoing education every period to maintain their credentials.