Williamstown Municipal Court – Williamstown, WV

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited area of authority over criminal charges and civil matters within its location. These courts can be located at the city or county tier.

Williamstown Municipal Court INformation

Court: Williamstown Municipal Court
Address: “100 West 5th Street, Williamstown, WV 26187”
Phone: 304-375-7761

City: Williamstown
County: Wood
State: West Virginia

What is the purpose of the Williamstown Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil matters, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Williamstown 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 cases, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felonies and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF Legal Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Williamstown, West Virginia

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courthouses in the United States. 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 service their population or to save money on costs. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, criminal misdemeanors and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor 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 is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Williamstown?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as 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 period.

Magistrates preside over 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 police officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to establish 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 difficult to navigate. The next portion is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is sent when an individual has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The person who has received the summons from the court will need to be present at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they never appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to show up after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Williamstown, WV

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can possess penalties up to $1k 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 offenses in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Williamstown Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that a person 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 type of information is needed by law to be present.

FAQs ABOUT the Williamstown Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Williamstown, West Virginia?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Williamstown, West Virginia?

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 Williamstown Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in West Virginia?

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 population. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish many hours of continuing education every year to maintain their credentials.