Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division – Cincinnati, OH

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division INformation

Court: Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division
Address: “Hamilton County Courthouse 1000 Main St, Cincinnati, OH 45202”
Phone: 513-946-5700

City: Cincinnati
County: Hamilton
State: Ohio

What is the role of the Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courts like Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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 family matters, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Cincinnati, Ohio

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 serve their people or to save money on administrative costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, small criminal charges and code violations.

There is no set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony charge, 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 managed in the municipal court in Cincinnati?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic violations, 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 a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to assist for a specific duration.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to police officers in order to seize evidence from crime locations
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to learn if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

The common path of a municipal courthouse case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the most common steps involved in a regular municipal court case.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when a person has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The individual 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 anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up 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 Cincinnati, OH

Penalties change often, which is why it’s best to speak with licensed lawyer near you. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be accurate for the Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can carry 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 charges in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. 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.

Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division 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 matter they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division

What is municipal court in Cincinnati, Ohio?

In Ohio, 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 offenses and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Cincinnati, Ohio?

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 Hamilton County Municipal Court – Civil Division have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Ohio?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by the people 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 finish multiple hours of continuing education every period to maintain their licenses.