Gulfport Municipal Court – Gulfport, MS

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its area. These courts can be located at the city or county tier.

Gulfport Municipal Court INformation

Court: Gulfport Municipal Court
Address: “2218 15th St, Gulfport, MS 39501”
Phone: 228-868-5855

City: Gulfport
County: Harrison
State: Mississippi

What is the role of the Gulfport Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic incidents. Courts like Gulfport 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, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF CASES adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Gulfport, Mississippi

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 jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better service their citizens or to save money on expenditures. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, small criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what makes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony case, 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’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Gulfport?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known 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 time.

Judges preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions 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
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to determine if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal courthouse case can be difficult to navigate. The next portion is an overview of the most common steps involved in a typical municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when a person has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court will need to be present at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance 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 Gulfport, MS

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 Gulfport Municipal Court. 

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

Gulfport 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 matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Gulfport Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Gulfport, Mississippi?

In Mississippi, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts thus 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 Gulfport, Mississippi?

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. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Gulfport Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Mississippi?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to the number of people. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete multiple hours of continuing material every year to maintain their licenses.