Prichard Municipal Court – Prichard, AL

Oct 25, 2021

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A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its location. These courts can be located at the county or city level.

Prichard Municipal Court INformation

Court: Prichard Municipal Court
Address: “A J Cooper Municipal Complex 216 E Prichard Ave, PO Box 10427, Prichard, AL 36610”
Phone: 251-452-7927

City: Prichard
County: Mobile
State: Alabama

What is the role of the Prichard Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courts like Prichard Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

In other situations, 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, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or lawsuits.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can not exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and more expansive civil cases.

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TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Prichard, Alabama

Municipal courts are the lowest 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 people or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level criminal charges and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony, 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

what is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Prichard?

Municipal courts are the lowest 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 handled by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to assist for a specific period of time.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

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

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when an individual has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons from the court will need to show up at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

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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 Prichard, AL

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1,000.00 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 offenses in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. 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.

Prichard Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may 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 available.

Questions ABOUT the Prichard Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Prichard, Alabama?

In Alabama, the municipal court is a lower court 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 Prichard, Alabama?

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 Prichard Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Alabama?

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

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