Vale Municipal Court – Vale, OR

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited area of authority over criminal offenses and civil disputes within its location. These courts can be located at the city or county tier.

Vale Municipal Court INformation

Court: Vale Municipal Court
Address: “252 B Street West, Vale, OR 97918”
Phone: 541-473-3133

City: Vale
County: Malheur
State: Oregon

What is the role of the Vale Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic violations. Courts like Vale 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, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can’t exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felonies and bigger civil matters.

TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Vale, Oregon

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 population or to save money on costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level criminal charges and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony, 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’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Vale?

Municipal courts are the lowest level 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.

Judges preside over 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 law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary inquiries to establish if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal courthouse case can be complicated. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a regular municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when a person 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 place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Vale, OR

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 accurate for the Vale Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can possess 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 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.

Vale 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 a person might need to depend on the matter they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be present.

FAQs ABOUT the Vale Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Vale, Oregon?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Vale, Oregon?

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 Vale Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Oregon?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until they retire. Judges are commonly elected by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal magistrates are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete several hours of continuing material every period to maintain their licenses.