Wathena Municipal Court – Wathena, KS

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Wathena Municipal Court INformation

Court: Wathena Municipal Court
Address: “206 St. Joseph Street, PO Box 27, Wathena, KS 66090”
Phone: 785-989-4711

City: Wathena
County: Doniphan
State: Kansas

What is the purpose of the Wathena Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Wathena 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 family matters, accident cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Wathena, Kansas

Municipal courts are the bottom rung 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 service their population or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, criminal misdemeanors and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor charge 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 managed in the municipal court in Wathena?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known city courts or town courts. Matters are managed by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to serve for a specific period of time.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and 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 protect evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary examinations to understand if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when a person has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The person who has received the summons from the court will need to be present at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail sentence 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 Wathena, KS

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1000 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 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.

Wathena 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 a person might need to depend on the type of case they have before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Wathena Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Wathena, Kansas?

In Kansas, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a town or municipality. Municipal courts have a small jurisdiction and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Wathena, Kansas?

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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Wathena Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Kansas?

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 precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish several hours of continuing courses every period to maintain their licenses.