A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its location. These courts can be found at the county or city tier.
Ephrata Municipal Court INformation
Court: Ephrata Municipal Court
Address: “121 Alder Street SW, Ephrata, WA 98823”
What is the role of the Ephrata Municipal Court?
Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic tickets. Courts like Ephrata Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.
On the other hand, 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, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.
County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and larger civil matters.
TYPES OF Legal Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Ephrata, Washington
Municipal courts are the bottom rung 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 assist their people or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level crimes and code infractions.
You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor versus a felony, 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
How are cases handled in the municipal court in Ephrata?
Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:
- Probable cause for arrest
- Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
- Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
- Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to seize evidence from crime locations
- Conduct preliminary examinations to establish if there is enough evidence to mount a charge
The usual process of a Municipal Court Case
Step One: Issuance of Summons
Second Step: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate
Municipal Court Penalties in Ephrata, WA
Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed lawyer. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Ephrata Municipal Court.
A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can possess penalties up to $1000 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 charges in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.
Ephrata Municipal Court Records
Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.
FAQs ABOUT the Ephrata Municipal Court
What is municipal court in Ephrata, Washington?
In Washington, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts will have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanor charges.
What does the municipal court handle in Ephrata, Washington?
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 deal with by higher authorities.
How many judges does the Ephrata Municipal Court have?
The count of judges depends on the municipality’s size.
How are cases heard in municipal courts in Washington?
A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted based on the number of people. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish several hours of continuing material every year to maintain their credentials.