Columbia Municipal Court – Columbia, MO

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil matters within its area. These courts can be located at the county or city tier.

Columbia Municipal Court INformation

Court: Columbia Municipal Court
Address: “600 East Broadway, Columbia, MO 65201”
Phone: 573-874-7230

City: Columbia
County: Boone
State: Missouri

What is the purpose of the Columbia Municipal Court?

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

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, accident cases, more serious criminal charges, or lawsuits.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF CASES adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Columbia, Missouri

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 locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better help their people or to save money on expenditures. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not find a standard for what establishes 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Columbia?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, 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 members to assist for a specific period of time.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

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

The 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 most common steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is sent when someone has been charged with violating a local 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 fail to appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or sentenced to jail time 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 Columbia, MO

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can carry penalties up to $1,000.00 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 crimes in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Columbia 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 an individual might need to depend on the type of case 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 available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Columbia Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Columbia, Missouri?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Columbia, Missouri?

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 Columbia Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Missouri?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted according to population. Municipal magistrates are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete many hours of ongoing education every period to maintain their credentials.