Winston Municipal Court – Winston, OR

by | Oct 26, 2021

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

Winston Municipal Court INformation

Court: Winston Municipal Court
Address: “201 NW Douglas Blvd, Winston, OR 97496”
Phone: 541-679-5561

City: Winston
County: Douglas
State: Oregon

What is the role of the Winston Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Winston Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

In other situations, 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, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can not exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Winston, Oregon

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

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge 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

how are cases managed in the municipal court in Winston?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known 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 serve for a specific period of time.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for 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 law enforcement officers in order to protect evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to determine if there is enough evidence to charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal courthouse 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: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when someone has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The person who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail term 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 person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Winston, OR

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

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can have 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 $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Winston Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may 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 case 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 available.

FAQs ABOUT the Winston Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Winston, Oregon?

In Oregon, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts 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 Winston, Oregon?

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 Winston Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Oregon?

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 magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete multiple hours of continuing education every period to maintain their licenses.