Municipal Court Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Municipal Court, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Municipal Court?

It is a lower court usually with a less geographic coverage and dealing in cases either criminal or civil where the amount involved is small. The state decides on the amount within which the municipal court should decide on the case above which, it goes in for a higher court case.

History and Meaning of Municipal Court

Municipal court is a type of lower court, sometimes called a local or city court, that has a smaller geographic coverage than other courts and usually handles cases where the amount in question is relatively small. Municipal courts deal with both criminal and civil cases, such as traffic violations, small claims, and misdemeanors.

These courts were initially created to provide local communities with the ability to have their disputes resolved without having to go to more central, distant court systems. Over the years, the role and scope of municipal courts have changed, with many now serving larger areas and utilizing technology to handle cases more efficiently.

Examples of Municipal Court

Here are some examples of cases that might be heard in a municipal court:

  • A driver who has been issued a traffic citation for running a red light or speeding.
  • A property owner who is in violation of a local ordinance, such as failing to maintain their lawn or keeping junked vehicles on their property.
  • A tenant or landlord who is involved in a dispute over rental payments or maintenance responsibilities.
  • A person who has been charged with a misdemeanor offense, such as disorderly conduct or petty theft.

Legal Terms Similar to Municipal Court

  • Small Claims Court: A court that handles disputes between two parties where the amount in question is typically less, where individuals can represent themselves without a lawyer.
  • Traffic Court: A type of court that solely handles traffic violations
  • Magistrate Court: A local court that handles certain types of cases, including civil and misdemeanor criminal cases.