Portage County Municipal Court – Kent Branch – Kent, OH

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Portage County Municipal Court – Kent Branch INformation

Court: Portage County Municipal Court – Kent Branch
Address: “303 E Main St, Kent, OH 44240”
Phone: 330-678-9170

City: Kent
County: Portage
State: Ohio

What is the role of the Portage County Municipal Court – Kent Branch?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Portage County Municipal Court – Kent Branch 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 divorce or other family matters, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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 cases and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF CASES adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Kent, Ohio

Municipal courts are the bottom rung 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 service their population or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level crimes and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony case, 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Kent?

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

Judges preside over hearings to determine:

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

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal courthouse case can be difficult to navigate. The following material is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court matter.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when a person has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to appear at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond 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 sentenced to jail time 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 person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Kent, OH

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can possess penalties up to $1k 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 courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Portage County Municipal Court – Kent Branch Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that a person 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 present.

FAQs ABOUT the Portage County Municipal Court – Kent Branch

What is municipal court in Kent, Ohio?

In Ohio, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts 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 Kent, Ohio?

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. Serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Portage County Municipal Court – Kent Branch have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Ohio?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted based on population. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of continuing courses every period to maintain their licenses.