West Plains Municipal Court – West Plains, MO

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

West Plains Municipal Court INformation

Court: West Plains Municipal Court
Address: “1910 Holiday Lane, West Plains, MO 65775”
Phone: 417-256-6154

City: West Plains
County: Howell
State: Missouri

What is the purpose of the West Plains Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courts like West Plains Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

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 law matters, personal injury, more serious criminal charges, or lawsuits.

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

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in West Plains, Missouri

Municipal courts are the entry level of courthouses in the United States. 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 help their population or to save money on expenditures. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony crime, 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 is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in West Plains?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, 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 a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to assist for a specific time.

Magistrates preside over 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 protect evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary examinations to understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

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

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when someone has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they never appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Show Up 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 West Plains, MO

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can possess penalties up to $1k 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 charges in municipal courthouses 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.

West Plains 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 an individual might need to depend on the type of matter they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the West Plains Municipal Court

What is municipal court in West Plains, Missouri?

In Missouri, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts thus 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 West Plains, 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. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the West Plains Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Missouri?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results judged based on population. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish many hours of continuing material every period to maintain their credentials.