Washington Municipal Division – Union, MO

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Washington Municipal Division INformation

Court: Washington Municipal Division
Address: “Franklin County Judicial Center 401 East Main Street, Room 100A, Union, MO 63084”
Phone: 636-583-7378

City: Union
County: Franklin
State: Missouri

What is the purpose of the Washington Municipal Division?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic matters. Courts like Washington Municipal Division 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, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF affairs adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Union, Missouri

Municipal courts are the bottom rung 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 can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony crime, 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 Union?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic violations, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called 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 members to help for a specific duration.

Magistrates 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
  • Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to learn if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

The common path of a municipal court case can be complicated. 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 is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to be present at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer 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 $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 Union, MO

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can possess penalties up to $1,000.00 or one year in local 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 courts vary depending on the severity of an offenses. 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.

Washington Municipal Division 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 before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Washington Municipal Division

What is municipal court in Union, Missouri?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Union, Missouri?

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 Washington Municipal Division have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Missouri?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated based on population. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete multiple hours of continuing education every year to maintain their licenses.