Village of Waunakee Municipal Court – Waunakee, WI

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Village of Waunakee Municipal Court INformation

Court: Village of Waunakee Municipal Court
Address: “500 West Main Street, Waunakee, WI 53597”
Phone: 608-849-4573

City: Waunakee
County: Dane
State: Wisconsin

What is the role of the Village of Waunakee Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic violations. Courthouses like Village of Waunakee Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

On the other hand, 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, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Waunakee, Wisconsin

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses in the United States. 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 assist their citizens or to save money on expenditures. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes 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

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Waunakee?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, 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 board to assist for a specific time.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to police officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary examinations to establish if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

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

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The citizen who has received the court summons will need to appear 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 anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: 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 Waunakee, WI

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 Village of Waunakee Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime 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 charges. 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.

Village of Waunakee 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 case they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

FAQs ABOUT the Village of Waunakee Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Waunakee, Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Waunakee, Wisconsin?

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. Serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Village of Waunakee Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Wisconsin?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated based on the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish several hours of continuing material every year to maintain their credentials.