Vestavia Hills Municipal Court – Vestavia Hills, AL

by | Oct 25, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes within its geographic area. These courts can be located at the city or county level.

Vestavia Hills Municipal Court INformation

Court: Vestavia Hills Municipal Court
Address: “1032 Montgomery Hwy, PO Box 660854, Vestavia Hills, AL 35266”
Phone: 205-978-0121

City: Vestavia Hills
County: Jefferson
State: Alabama

What is the purpose of the Vestavia Hills Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Vestavia Hills Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

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, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or breaches of contract.

County courts 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 cases and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Vestavia Hills, Alabama

Municipal courts are the entry level of courts in the United States. 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 matters that will be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

You will not find a standard for what constitutes 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 Vestavia Hills?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known 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 period of time.

Magistrates manage hearings to determine:

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

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal courthouse case can be tricky. The following material is an overview of the most common steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when a person has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail sentence 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 Vestavia Hills, AL

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

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can have penalties up to $1k 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 crimes 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 will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Vestavia Hills Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may 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 type of matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Vestavia Hills Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Vestavia Hills, Alabama?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Vestavia Hills, Alabama?

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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Vestavia Hills Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Alabama?

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