Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court – Cambridge, WI

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court INformation

Court: Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court
Address: “200 Spring Street, PO Box 99, Cambridge, WI 53523”
Phone: 608-501-5010

City: Cambridge
County: Dane
State: Wisconsin

What is the role of the Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic violations. Courts like Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

On the other hand, the purpose 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, accident cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Cambridge, Wisconsin

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courts in the U.S.. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their citizens 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 infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Cambridge?

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

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an 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 secure evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal court case can be complicated. The following material 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 an individual has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The person who has received the summons from the court 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 never appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1k or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: 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 Cambridge, WI

Penalties change often, which is why it’s best to speak with licensed attorney. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can have 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 offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court 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 case they have before 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 Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Cambridge, Wisconsin?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Cambridge, 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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Eastern Dane County Joint Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Wisconsin?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes elected by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish multiple hours of continuing education every year to maintain their credentials.