Bernalillo Municipal Court – Bernalillo, NM

Oct 26, 2021

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

Bernalillo Municipal Court INformation

Court: Bernalillo Municipal Court
Address: “829 Camino de Pueblo, PO Box 638, Bernalillo, NM 87004”
Phone: 505-771-7115

City: Bernalillo
County: Sandoval
State: New Mexico

What is the role of the Bernalillo Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Bernalillo 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 cases, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Bernalillo, 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 places share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their population or to save money on expenditures. The matters 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.

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony charge, 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 Bernalillo?

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. Matters 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 period of time.

Judges manage hearings to determine:

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

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The following is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court matter.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is sent when someone has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons will need to appear at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: 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 Bernalillo, NM

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 Bernalillo Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can possess penalties up to $1k 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 offenses in municipal courthouses 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 $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Bernalillo Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place 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 needed by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Bernalillo Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Bernalillo, New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Bernalillo, New Mexico?

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. Serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Bernalillo Municipal Court have?

The number 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 term of years or until retirement. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated based on the number of people. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete many hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their licenses.