Los Alamos Municipal Court – Los Alamos, NM

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Los Alamos Municipal Court INformation

Court: Los Alamos Municipal Court
Address: “Los Alamos County Justice Center 2500 Trinity Drive, Suite C, Los Alamos, NM 87544”
Phone: 505-662-8025

City: Los Alamos
County: Los Alamos
State: New Mexico

What is the purpose of the Los Alamos Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Los Alamos Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

In other situations, the purpose of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family law matters, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Los Alamos, New Mexico

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 jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better help their population or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, small criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor versus a felony charge, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor crimes 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 Los Alamos?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, 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 a lawyer, 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
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to protect evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to determine if there is enough evidence to charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal courthouse case can be difficult to navigate. The following material is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when an individual has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to appear at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up 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 Los Alamos, NM

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

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

Los Alamos Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be present.

FAQs ABOUT the Los Alamos Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Los Alamos, New Mexico?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Los Alamos, New Mexico?

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. More serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Los Alamos Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in New Mexico?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are sometimes elected by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete multiple hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their credentials.