Salem Municipal Court – Salem, OR

Oct 26, 2021

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

Salem Municipal Court INformation

Court: Salem Municipal Court
Address: “555 Liberty Street SE, Room 215, Salem, OR 97301”
Phone: 503-588-6146

City: Salem
County: Marion
State: Oregon

What is the role of the Salem Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic violations. Courts like Salem Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can not exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and bigger civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Salem, Oregon

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courts 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 costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, small criminal charges and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what constitutes a misdemeanor charge 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 managed in the municipal court in Salem?

Municipal courts are the first 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 managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to serve for a specific time.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

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

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

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

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is sent when an individual has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The person who has received the summons from the court will need to be present at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1000 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 Salem, OR

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can have 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 offenses in municipal courts 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.

Salem 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 a person might need to depend on the matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Salem Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Salem, Oregon?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Salem, Oregon?

Depending on the size 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 Salem Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Oregon?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are commonly elected by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted according to the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete several hours of ongoing education every period to maintain their licenses.