Mesilla Municipal Court – Mesilla, NM

Oct 26, 2021

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

Mesilla Municipal Court INformation

Court: Mesilla Municipal Court
Address: “2231 Avenida de Mesilla, PO Box 1517, Mesilla, NM 88046”
Phone: 575-524-1091

City: Mesilla
County: Dona Ana
State: New Mexico

What is the purpose of the Mesilla Municipal Court?

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

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 lawsuits.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can not exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felonies and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF CASES HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Mesilla, New Mexico

Municipal courts are the entry level 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 population or to save money on administrative costs. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, small criminal charges 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 Mesilla?

Municipal courts are the first level 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 a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to serve for a specific period of time.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to establish if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The common process of a municipal court case can be tricky. The following material is an overview of the most common steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when a person has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons from the court 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 don’t appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1k 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 person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Mesilla, NM

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

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge can possess penalties up to $1,000.00 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 charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Mesilla 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 an individual might need to depend on the type of case they have before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Mesilla Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Mesilla, New Mexico?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Mesilla, 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. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Mesilla Municipal Court have?

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

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 based on the number of people. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete multiple hours of continuing education every period to maintain their licenses.