Las Cruces Municipal Court – Las Cruces, NM

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal offenses and civil matters within its geographic area. These courts can be located at the county or city tier.

Las Cruces Municipal Court INformation

Court: Las Cruces Municipal Court
Address: “135 East Griggs Avenue, PO Box 20000, Las Cruces, NM 88004”
Phone: 575-541-2224

City: Las Cruces
County: Dona Ana
State: New Mexico

What is the role of the Las Cruces Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Las Cruces 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 family matters, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Las Cruces, New Mexico

Municipal courts are the bottom rung 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 help their population or to save money on costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor charge 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

what is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Las Cruces?

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 often known as city courts or town courts. Cases are handled 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 time period.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to police officers in order to protect evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary inquiries to determine if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

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

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when someone has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the summons will need to appear 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 sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: 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 Las Cruces, NM

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime 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 courts vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Las Cruces 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 type of case they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Las Cruces Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Las Cruces, New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts will have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Las Cruces, New Mexico?

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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Las Cruces Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in New Mexico?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by the people with each precinct’s results judged according to the number of people. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete several hours of ongoing material every period to maintain their credentials.