Tuscaloosa Municipal Court – Tuscaloosa, AL

by | Oct 25, 2021

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

Tuscaloosa Municipal Court INformation

Court: Tuscaloosa Municipal Court
Address: “Alvin Dupont Court Bldg 2122 6th St, PO Box 2089, Tuscaloosa, AL 35403”
Phone: 205-248-5330

City: Tuscaloosa
County: Tuscaloosa
State: Alabama

What is the purpose of the Tuscaloosa 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 Tuscaloosa 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 infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courts 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 felony cases and larger civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses in the U.S.. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some places share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their citizens or to save money on costs. The matters that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony, 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 is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Tuscaloosa?

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 often known as city courts or town courts. Matters are handled 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 duration.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for 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 protect evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary inquiries to establish if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

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

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when a person has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons will need to show up at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they fail to appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 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 Tuscaloosa, AL

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

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can carry 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 license for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Tuscaloosa 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 matter they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Tuscaloosa Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Tuscaloosa, Alabama?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Tuscaloosa, Alabama?

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 Tuscaloosa Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Alabama?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes elected by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted according to the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish many hours of continuing education every period to maintain their licenses.