City of Stoughton Municipal Court – Stoughton, WI

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

City of Stoughton Municipal Court INformation

Court: City of Stoughton Municipal Court
Address: “Public Safety Building 321 South 4th Street, Second Floor, Stoughton, WI 53589”
Phone: 608-873-6676

City: Stoughton
County: Dane
State: Wisconsin

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

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic violations. Courts like City of Stoughton 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 family law matters, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF affairs adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Stoughton, Wisconsin

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses 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 people or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level crimes and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony crime, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanors 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 Stoughton?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known city courts or town courts. Cases 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 assist for a specific time period.

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 individuals by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to protect evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

The common path of a municipal courthouse case can be complicated. The next portion is an overview of the most common steps involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is issued when a person has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The person who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up 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 Stoughton, 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 Stoughton Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can have penalties up to $1000 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 prescription for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

City of Stoughton 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 an individual might need to depend on the type of case they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the City of Stoughton Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Stoughton, Wisconsin?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Stoughton, Wisconsin?

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 City of Stoughton Municipal Court have?

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

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 sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated based on the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete multiple hours of continuing material every year to maintain their licenses.