Lovington Municipal Court – Lovington, NM

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Lovington Municipal Court INformation

Court: Lovington Municipal Court
Address: “213 South Love Street, Lovington, NM 88260”
Phone: 575-396-4043

City: Lovington
County: Lea
State: New Mexico

What is the purpose of the Lovington Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic tickets. Courts like Lovington Municipal Court 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 charges, or breaches of contract.

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

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

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses in the U.S.. 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 people or to save money on costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level criminal charges and code violations.

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 misdemeanor charges and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

 

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How are cases handled in the municipal court in Lovington?

Municipal courts are the lowest level 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 managed by a magistrate who is usually a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to help for a specific period of time.

Judges preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects 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 issue a charge

The common process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal courthouse case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is given when someone has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they never appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

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Second Step: 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 person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Lovington, NM

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1,000.00 or one year in local 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 charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Lovington Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the type of case they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Lovington Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Lovington, New Mexico?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Lovington, New Mexico?

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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Lovington 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 retirement. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted based on the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete several hours of continuing education every period to maintain their licenses.

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