Kelso Municipal Division – Benton, MO

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Kelso Municipal Division INformation

Court: Kelso Municipal Division
Address: “Scott County Courthouse 131 South Winchester Street, PO Box 587, Benton, MO 63736”
Phone: 573-545-3576

City: Benton
County: Scott
State: Missouri

What is the role of the Kelso Municipal Division?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic violations. Courts like Kelso Municipal Division are the first level of court for this group of matters.

On the other hand, the purpose of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve 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 $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felonies and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Benton, Missouri

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courts 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 assist their citizens or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level crimes and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Benton?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Cases 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.

Judges manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to protect evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to establish if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal court case can be complicated. 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 sent when a person has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The person who has received the summons will need to show up at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they fail to appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or sentenced to jail time 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 Benton, MO

Penalties change often, which is why it’s best to speak with licensed attorney. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Kelso Municipal Division. 

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge 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 offenses in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an crimes. 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.

Kelso Municipal Division Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could 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 case 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 present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Kelso Municipal Division

What is municipal court in Benton, Missouri?

In Missouri, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction 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 crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in Benton, Missouri?

Depending on the area 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 Kelso Municipal Division have?

The count 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 they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted based on the number of people. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish several hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their licenses.