Santa Clara Municipal Court – Santa Clara, NM

Oct 26, 2021

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

Santa Clara Municipal Court INformation

Court: Santa Clara Municipal Court
Address: “105 North Bayard Street, PO Box 316, Santa Clara, NM 88026”
Phone: 575-537-6417

City: Santa Clara
County: Grant
State: New Mexico

What is the purpose of the Santa Clara Municipal Court?

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

In other situations, the role 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 cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Santa Clara, New Mexico

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 locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better help their population or to save money on expenditures. The matters that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, criminal misdemeanors 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 misdemeanors 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 Santa Clara?

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

Judges preside over 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
  • Distribute search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

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

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when a person has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The individual who has received the summons from the court will need to be present at their assigned time and place, 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 $1k or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Santa Clara, NM

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or less, 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 courthouses 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.

Santa Clara Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court 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 required by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Santa Clara Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Santa Clara, New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts will have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanor crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in Santa Clara, New Mexico?

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 Santa Clara Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in New Mexico?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must finish several hours of ongoing material every year to maintain their credentials.