Johnson City Municipal Court – Johnson City, TN

by | Oct 27, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its area. These courts can be located at the city or county level.

Johnson City Municipal Court INformation

Court: Johnson City Municipal Court
Address: “601 East Main Street, Johnson City, TN 37601”
Phone: 423-434-6160

City: Johnson City
County: Carter
State: Tennessee

What is the role of the Johnson City Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Johnson City Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

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 family matters, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF CASES HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Johnson City, Tennessee

Municipal courts are the entry level 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 help their people or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level crimes and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor charge 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 handled in the municipal court in Johnson City?

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 popularly known 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 assist for a specific period of time.

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 defendants by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to secure evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary inquiries to determine if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal courthouse case can be complicated. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when an individual has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court will need to be present 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: Appearance 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 Johnson City, TN

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can have 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 offenses in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Johnson City Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could 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 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.

Common Questions ABOUT the Johnson City Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Johnson City, Tennessee?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Johnson City, Tennessee?

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 Johnson City Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Tennessee?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are commonly chosen by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish several hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their credentials.