St. Thomas Municipal Court – St. Thomas, ND

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal charges and civil disputes within its location. These courts can be found at the county or city level.

St. Thomas Municipal Court INformation

Court: St. Thomas Municipal Court
Address: “PO Box 177, St. Thomas, ND 58276”
Phone: 701-257-6640

City: St. Thomas
County: Pembina
State: North Dakota

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

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like St. Thomas Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in St. Thomas, 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 service their population or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, small criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony crime, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor charges 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 St. Thomas?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, 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 members to help for a specific duration.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

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

The common 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 common items involved in a typical municipal court case.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when someone has been charged with violating a city 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 come, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to respond after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in St. Thomas, ND

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, 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 courts vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

St. Thomas 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 type of case they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the St. Thomas Municipal Court

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

In North Dakota, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts will 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 St. Thomas, 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. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

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

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in North Dakota?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated based on the number of people. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete multiple hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their credentials.