A municipal court is a court with restrictive jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil disputes inside its geographic area. These courts can be found at the county or city level.
Spokane Municipal Court INformation
Court: Spokane Municipal Court
Address: “Public Safety Building 1100 W Mallon Avenue, Spokane, WA 99260”
What is the purpose of the Spokane Municipal Court?
Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Spokane 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 family matters, accident cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.
County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can’t exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and more expansive civil cases.
TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Spokane, Washington
Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courthouses in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.
This can be done to better assist their people or to save money on expenditures. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level criminal charges and code violations.
There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony crime, 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 handled in the municipal court in Spokane?
Magistrates manage hearings to determine:
- Probable cause for an arrest
- Set bail amounts and the 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 scenes
- Conduct preliminary inquiries to learn if there is enough evidence to issue a charge
The usual process of a Municipal Court matter
Step One: An Issuance of Summons
Second Step: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate
Municipal Court Penalties in Spokane, WA
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 Spokane Municipal Court.
A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge can possess 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 charges in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an crimes. 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.
Spokane 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 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 kind of of information is needed by law to be present.
Common Questions ABOUT the Spokane Municipal Court
What is municipal court in Spokane, Washington?
In Washington, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction 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 Spokane, Washington?
Depending on the scope 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 handled by higher authorities.
How many judges does the Spokane Municipal Court have?
The count of judges depends on the municipality’s size.
How are cases heard in municipal courts in Washington?
A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted based on population. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete many hours of ongoing courses every year to maintain their credentials.