Harpers Ferry Municipal Court – Harpers Ferry, WV

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil disputes within its location. These courts can be found at the county or city tier.

Harpers Ferry Municipal Court INformation

Court: Harpers Ferry Municipal Court
Address: “1000 Washington Street, PO Box 217, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425”
Phone: 304-535-2206

City: Harpers Ferry
County: Jefferson
State: West Virginia

What is the purpose of the Harpers Ferry Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic violations. Courthouses like Harpers Ferry Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

In other situations, the role of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family law matters, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Municipal courts are the lowest level 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 population 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 tickets, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony crime, 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 Harpers Ferry?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Cases are handled 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 period of 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 suspects by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary examinations to determine if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal court case can be complicated. The following is an overview of the most common steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when a person has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons will need to appear at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1000 or sentenced to jail time 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Harpers Ferry, WV

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed lawyer near you. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Harpers Ferry Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can possess 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 charges in municipal courts 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.

Harpers Ferry Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Harpers Ferry Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia?

In West Virginia, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia?

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 Harpers Ferry Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in West Virginia?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated based on population. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete multiple hours of ongoing courses every year to maintain their credentials.