Underwood Municipal Court – Underwood, ND

Oct 26, 2021

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

Underwood Municipal Court INformation

Court: Underwood Municipal Court
Address: “City Hall 88 Lincoln Ave, PO Box 168, Underwood, ND 58576”
Phone: 701-442-5481

City: Underwood
County: McLean
State: North Dakota

What is the role of the Underwood Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courts like Underwood 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 family law matters, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or lawsuits.

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 cases.

TYPES OF CASES HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Underwood, North Dakota

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 jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better assist their citizens 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 violations, low level criminal charges and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony charge, 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Underwood?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic violations, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as city courts or town courts. Cases 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.

Judges manage hearings to determine:

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

The usual process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is sent when someone has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to appear at their assigned time and courthouse, 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 $1k or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance 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 Underwood, 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 Underwood Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can carry penalties up to $1,000.00 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 offenses. 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.

Underwood Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of case 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 available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Underwood Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Underwood, North Dakota?

In North Dakota, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Underwood, 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 Underwood Municipal Court have?

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

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 sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged based on population. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish multiple hours of ongoing education every period to maintain their credentials.