Watonga Municipal Court – Watonga, OK

by | Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal offenses and civil disputes inside its geographic area. These courts can be located at the county or city level.

Watonga Municipal Court INformation

Court: Watonga Municipal Court
Address: “117 North Weigle Avenue, PO Box 564, Watonga, OK 73772”
Phone: 580-623-4669

City: Watonga
County: Blaine
State: Oklahoma

What is the role of the Watonga Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Watonga 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 family matters, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Watonga, Oklahoma

Municipal courts are the entry level of courthouses in the U.S.. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better assist their population or to save money on expenditures. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level criminal charges and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony case, 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Watonga?

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 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 serve for a specific time.

Judges preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an 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 police officers in order to secure evidence from crime locations
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to establish if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The common process of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court case.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The person 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 $1k or sentenced to jail time 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Watonga, OK

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

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

Watonga Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that an individual 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 kind of of information is required by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Watonga Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Watonga, Oklahoma?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Watonga, Oklahoma?

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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Watonga Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Oklahoma?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to the number of people. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete several hours of continuing education every year to maintain their credentials.