City of Madison Municipal Court – Madison, WI

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its location. These courts can be located at the county or city tier.

City of Madison Municipal Court INformation

Court: City of Madison Municipal Court
Address: “City – County Building 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, Madison, WI 53703”
Phone: 608-264-9282

City: Madison
County: Dane
State: Wisconsin

What is the role of the City of Madison Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic violations. Courts like City of Madison Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can not exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Madison, Wisconsin

Municipal courts are the entry level of courts in the United States. 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 people or to save money on expenditures. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level criminal charges and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony, 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 Madison?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Matters 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 serve for a specific time.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

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

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The common path of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The following material is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when someone has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The person who has received the court summons 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 don’t come, 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 respond after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Madison, WI

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 accurate for the City of Madison Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can carry 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 crimes in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

City of Madison 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 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 present.

Common Questions ABOUT the City of Madison Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Madison, Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts have a small jurisdiction and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Madison, Wisconsin?

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. More serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the City of Madison Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Wisconsin?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results judged according to the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete several hours of continuing material every period to maintain their licenses.