Gearhart Municipal Court – Gearhart, OR

Oct 26, 2021

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

Gearhart Municipal Court INformation

Court: Gearhart Municipal Court
Address: “698 Pacific Way, PO Box 2510, Gearhart, OR 97138”
Phone: 503-738-5501

City: Gearhart
County: Clatsop
State: Oregon

What is the purpose of the Gearhart Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Gearhart Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

In other situations, 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 matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and larger civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Gearhart, Oregon

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts in the United States. 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 serve their population or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level criminal charges and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Gearhart?

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. 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 board to help for a specific time.

Judges manage 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 seize evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary inquiries to learn if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court matter

The common process of a municipal courthouse case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is sent when an individual has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty in absentia 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Gearhart, OR

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 Gearhart Municipal Court. 

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

Gearhart Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could 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 type of information is needed by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Gearhart Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Gearhart, Oregon?

In Oregon, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small jurisdiction and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Gearhart, Oregon?

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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Gearhart Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Oregon?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated based on the number of people. Municipal magistrates are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete several hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their licenses.