Vaughn Municipal Court – Vaughn, NM

Oct 26, 2021

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

Vaughn Municipal Court INformation

Court: Vaughn Municipal Court
Address: “118 East 8th Street, PO Box 278, Vaughn, NM 88353”
Phone: 575-584-2206

City: Vaughn
County: Guadalupe
State: New Mexico

What is the role of the Vaughn Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic violations. Courts like Vaughn 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 divorce or other family matters, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can not exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Vaughn, New Mexico

Municipal courts are the entry level of courts 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 serve their citizens or to save money on administrative costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level crimes and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor charge 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 Vaughn?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as city courts or town courts. Matters are handled 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 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 understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The common process of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The next portion is an overview of the steps involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is sent when a person has been charged with violating a local 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 anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail term 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 Vaughn, NM

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

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

Vaughn Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the matter 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.

FAQs ABOUT the Vaughn Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Vaughn, New Mexico?

In New Mexico, the municipal court is a lower court 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 offenses and misdemeanor crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in Vaughn, New Mexico?

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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Vaughn Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in New Mexico?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete many hours of continuing education every year to maintain their licenses.