St. John Municipal Court – St. John, ND

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

St. John Municipal Court INformation

Court: St. John Municipal Court
Address: “PO Box 484, St. John, ND 58369”
Phone: 701-278-8650

City: St. John
County: Rolette
State: North Dakota

What is the purpose of the St. John Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic tickets. Courts like St. John Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

On the other hand, the role 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 cases, more serious criminal charges, or breaches of contract.

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 felonies and bigger civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in St. John, North Dakota

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 locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their citizens or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, low level crimes and code violations.

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony charge, 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 St. John?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Matters 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 period of time.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

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

The common process of a Municipal Court matter

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when a person has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The person 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 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 $1,000.00 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: 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 St. John, ND

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, 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 medical prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

St. John Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could 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 type of charge they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the St. John Municipal Court

What is municipal court in St. John, North Dakota?

In North Dakota, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts have a small jurisdiction and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in St. John, North Dakota?

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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the St. John Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in North Dakota?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years 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 continuing courses every year to maintain their credentials.