Pittsburgh Municipal Court – Pittsburgh, PA

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Pittsburgh Municipal Court INformation

Court: Pittsburgh Municipal Court
Address: “Municipal Courts Building 660 1st Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219”
Phone: 412-350-6715

City: Pittsburgh
County: Allegheny
State: Pennsylvania

What is the role of the Pittsburgh Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic matters. Courts like Pittsburgh 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 law matters, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF affairs adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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 assist their population or to save money on administrative costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level crimes and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor versus a felony crime, 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 Pittsburgh?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, 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 board to assist for a specific period of time.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

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

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal courthouse 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 someone has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The person 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 in absentia and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Appearance 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 Pittsburgh, PA

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

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

Pittsburgh 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 matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Pittsburgh Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a town or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania?

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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Pittsburgh Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Pennsylvania?

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 weighted according to the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish several hours of continuing courses every period to maintain their credentials.