Huntsville Municipal Court – Huntsville, AL

Oct 25, 2021

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

Huntsville Municipal Court Information

Court: Huntsville Municipal Court
Address: 815 Wheeler Ave, PO Box 2829, Huntsville, AL 35804.
Phone: 256-427-7800

City: Huntsville
County: Madison
State: Alabama

What is the purpose of the Huntsville Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic matters. Courts like Huntsville 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 divorce or other family matters, accident cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF CASES HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Huntsville, Alabama

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses 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 service their citizens or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that could be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level crimes and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony case, 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

how are cases managed in the municipal court in Huntsville?

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. Cases are managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge driving school probation presiding judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to help for a specific time period.

Judges preside over hearings to determine:

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

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

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

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when an individual has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law  presiding judge. The person who has received the summons will need to be present at their assigned time and location, 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 anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail sentence 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 person traffic court.

Municipal Court Penalties in Huntsville, AL

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 Huntsville Municipal Court. 

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

Huntsville Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that a person 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 type of information is needed by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Huntsville Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Huntsville, Alabama?

In Alabama, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters within a town or municipality. Municipal courts will have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Huntsville, Alabama?

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 Huntsville Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Alabama?

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 weighted according to population. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish many hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their licenses.

 

alabama 1