Socorro Municipal Court – Socorro, 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 found at the county or city tier.

Socorro Municipal Court INformation

Court: Socorro Municipal Court
Address: “404 Park Street, PO Box K, Socorro, NM 87801”
Phone: 575-835-2558

City: Socorro
County: Socorro
State: New Mexico

What is the role of the Socorro Municipal Court?

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

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 divorce or other family matters, accident cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and bigger civil matters.

TYPES OF Legal Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Socorro, New Mexico

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

You will not find a standard for what establishes 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Socorro?

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 often known as 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 assist for a specific time.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

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

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

The common process of a municipal court case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when an individual has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to be present at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1000 or sentenced to jail time 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 Socorro, NM

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor 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 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 could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Socorro 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 needed by law to be present.

FAQs ABOUT the Socorro Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Socorro, New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction 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 Socorro, New Mexico?

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. More serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Socorro Municipal Court have?

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

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 term of years or until retirement. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted based on the number of people. Municipal magistrates are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must finish several hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their licenses.