Zillah Municipal Court – Zillah, WA

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Zillah Municipal Court INformation

Court: Zillah Municipal Court
Address: “111 7th Street, PO Box 388, Zillah, WA 98953”
Phone: 509-829-3543

City: Zillah
County: Yakima
State: Washington

What is the role of the Zillah Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Zillah Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

On the other hand, the purpose of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve divorce or other family matters, personal injury, more serious criminal charges, or lawsuits.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can not exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF CASES seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Zillah, Washington

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 cases that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, 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 Zillah?

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

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against individuals 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 issue a charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

The common process of a municipal courthouse case can be complicated. The next portion is an overview of the steps involved in a regular municipal court case.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The person who has received the court summons will need to show up at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond 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.

Step Two: 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 Zillah, WA

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 100% accurate for the Zillah Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can have penalties up to $1,000.00 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 courthouses vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Zillah 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 an individual might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Zillah Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Zillah, Washington?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Zillah, Washington?

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 Zillah Municipal Court have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Washington?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of ongoing courses every year to maintain their credentials.