Helena Municipal Court – Helena, OK

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Helena Municipal Court INformation

Court: Helena Municipal Court
Address: “304 North Main Street, PO Box 568, Helena, OK 73741”
Phone: 580-852-3250

City: Helena
County: Alfalfa
State: Oklahoma

What is the purpose of the Helena Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic matters. Courts like Helena 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 lawsuits.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and more expansive civil cases.

TYPES OF affairs HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Helena, Oklahoma

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses 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 people or to save money on costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor versus a felony, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor charges and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

what is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Helena?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as city courts or town courts. Matters are managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to help for a specific time period.

Magistrates 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 defendants 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 charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal court case can be tricky. The following material is an overview of the steps involved in a typical municipal court matter.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is given when an individual has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The person who has received the summons will need to show up at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer 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 $1k or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: 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 Helena, OK

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed attorney near you. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be accurate for the Helena Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1k 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 offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Helena Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government 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 case 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.

Common Questions ABOUT the Helena Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Helena, Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Helena, Oklahoma?

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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Helena Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Oklahoma?

A municipal courthouse 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 population. Municipal magistrates are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish several hours of ongoing education every period to maintain their credentials.