Morgantown Municipal Court – Morgantown, WV

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil matters within its geographic area. These courts can be found at the city or county level.

Morgantown Municipal Court INformation

Court: Morgantown Municipal Court
Address: “Public Safety Building 300 Spruce Street, Morgantown, WV 26505”
Phone: 304-284-7487

City: Morgantown
County: Monongalia
State: West Virginia

What is the purpose of the Morgantown Municipal Court?

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

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, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felonies and larger civil matters.

TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Morgantown, West Virginia

Municipal courts are the entry level of courthouses in the United States. 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 service their citizens or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that could 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 makes 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Morgantown?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic violations, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called 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 help for a specific time period.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

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

The typical process of a Municipal Court matter

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

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court 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 fail to appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance 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 Morgantown, WV

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 Morgantown Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge can possess penalties up to $1000 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 charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Morgantown Municipal Court Records

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

Common Questions ABOUT the Morgantown Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Morgantown, West Virginia?

In West Virginia, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts will have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Morgantown, West Virginia?

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 Morgantown Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in West Virginia?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete multiple hours of continuing courses every period to maintain their licenses.