A municipal court is a court with restrictive area of authority over criminal charges and civil matters inside its geographic area. These courts can be located at the city or county level.
Watertown Municipal Court INformation
Court: Watertown Municipal Court
Address: “160 South Statesville Avenue, Watertown, TN 37184”
What is the purpose of the Watertown Municipal Court?
Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Watertown Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.
In other situations, 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 charges, or lawsuits.
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 larger civil cases.
TYPES OF CASES adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Watertown, Tennessee
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 places 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 can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.
You will not see a set definition for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony charge, 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
How are cases handled in the municipal court in Watertown?
Magistrates administer hearings to determine:
- Probable cause for arrest
- Set bail amounts and 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 locations
- start preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to charge
The Process of a Municipal Court matter
Step One: Issuance of Summons
Second Step: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate
Municipal Court Penalties in Watertown, TN
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 Watertown Municipal Court.
A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge 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 crimes 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.
Watertown Municipal Court Records
Municipal Court records from a municipal court could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of case they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be present.
Questions ABOUT the Watertown Municipal Court
What is municipal court in Watertown, Tennessee?
In Tennessee, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city 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 Watertown, Tennessee?
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 Watertown Municipal Court have?
The count of judges depends on the municipality’s population.
How are cases heard in municipal courts in Tennessee?
A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to the number of people. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish many hours of continuing education every period to maintain their credentials.