Parkersburg Municipal Court – Parkersburg, WV

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Parkersburg Municipal Court INformation

Court: Parkersburg Municipal Court
Address: “1 Government Square, PO Box 1627, Parkersburg, WV 26102”
Phone: 304-424-8430

City: Parkersburg
County: Wood
State: West Virginia

What is the purpose of the Parkersburg Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic violations. Courts like Parkersburg 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, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can’t exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and bigger civil matters.

TYPES OF Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Parkersburg, West Virginia

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 places share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their people or to save money on 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.

There is no set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony charge, 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Parkersburg?

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 popularly known 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 period of time.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

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

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when someone has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The individual 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 fail to 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.

Second Step: Show Up 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 Parkersburg, WV

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

Parkersburg Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government 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 charge they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Parkersburg Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Parkersburg, West Virginia?

In West Virginia, the municipal court is a lower level 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 charges and misdemeanor crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in Parkersburg, 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. Serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Parkersburg Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in West Virginia?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts 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 multiple hours of ongoing courses every year to maintain their licenses.