Columbus Municipal Court – Columbus, NM

Oct 26, 2021

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

Columbus Municipal Court INformation

Court: Columbus Municipal Court
Address: “224 Lima Avenue, PO Box 350, Columbus, NM 88029”
Phone: 575-531-2801

City: Columbus
County: Luna
State: New Mexico

What is the purpose of the Columbus 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 Columbus 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 infractions, or breaches of contract.

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 bigger civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Columbus, New Mexico

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 population or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, small criminal charges and code violations.

There is no set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor charge 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 Columbus?

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 managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to serve for a specific period of time.

Judges manage 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 police officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal courthouse case can be complicated. The following is an overview of the most common steps 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 city rule or state law. The person who has received the summons will need to appear at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail sentence 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 Columbus, NM

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime 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 courthouses 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.

Columbus Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may 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 required by law to be available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Columbus Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Columbus, New Mexico?

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

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

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

How many judges does the Columbus Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in New Mexico?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated based on the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete multiple hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their credentials.