Portland Municipal Court – Portland, TN

by | Oct 27, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive area of authority over criminal charges and civil matters within its geographic area. These courts can be located at the city or county level.

Portland Municipal Court INformation

Court: Portland Municipal Court
Address: “100 South Russell Street, Portland, TN 37148”
Phone: 615-325-6776

City: Portland
County: Sumner
State: Tennessee

What is the role of the Portland Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic incidents. Courts like Portland Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

On the other hand, the role 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, 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, while the circuits courts handle felonies and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF CASES HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Portland, Tennessee

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts 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 help their citizens or to save money on costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes 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 managed in the municipal court in Portland?

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 often known as city courts or town courts. Cases are managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to serve for a specific duration.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

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

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The next portion is an overview of the steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is given when someone has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The individual 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 $1k or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up 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 Portland, TN

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1000 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 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 could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Portland 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 type of matter they have before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Portland Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Portland, Tennessee?

In Tennessee, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Portland, Tennessee?

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 Portland Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Tennessee?

A municipal court 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 according to population. Municipal magistrates are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete several hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their credentials.