Independence Municipal Court – Independence, MO

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive area of authority over criminal offenses and civil matters inside its area. These courts can be found at the city or county level.

Independence Municipal Court INformation

Court: Independence Municipal Court
Address: “City Hall 111 East Maple Avenue, Independence, MO 64050”
Phone: 816-325-7230

City: Independence
County: Jackson
State: Missouri

What is the role of the Independence Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Independence Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

On the other hand, 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, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Independence, Missouri

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better help their citizens or to save money on expenditures. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors 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 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 managed in the municipal court in Independence?

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

Magistrates preside over 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
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to learn if there is enough evidence to charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court matter

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The individual who has received the summons from the court 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 never appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail term 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 Independence, MO

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can possess 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 crimes 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 could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Independence 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 matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Independence Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Independence, Missouri?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Independence, Missouri?

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. More serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Independence Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Missouri?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated based on population. Municipal magistrates are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish several hours of continuing material every year to maintain their credentials.