In addition to federal laws and state laws, there are also laws created by a city or town, which are called municipal ordinances. A municipal ordinance is only applicable within the boundaries of the municipality. In many states, there are specific courts which deal only with cases involving violations of municipal ordinances, called Municipal Courts. If you have ever received a traffic ticket, and fought it in court, then you likely encountered a municipal court.
The types of cases heard in Municipal courts can include infractions and certain minor criminal offenses such as misdemeanors. An infraction can include a parking ticket, speeding ticket, building code violations, and noise citations. Due to the minor nature of the violation, infractions are not usually punishable though a jail sentence, and instead usually involve payment of a fine or revocation of a license or permit. Infractions will not result in a criminal record. Misdemeanors usually heard by Municipal Courts can include cases involving trespass and DUI (driving under the influence) cases, as with infractions, many misdemeanor cases usually do not involve jail time, especially for first time offenders. Where incarceration does occur, misdemeanors crimes are punishable by a maximum of 1 year in a local jail.
However, not every state court system contains a municipal court and the exact types of cases heard by Municipal Courts will vary by state. In some states, cases involving town or city laws or handled by a court of general jurisdiction, such as a District Court, or a local court, such as a County Court. Also, in some states, such as Kansas and New Mexico, Municipal Courts do not offer jury trials, and therefore, cases where there is a right to a jury must be handled by another court. States that do have Municipal Courts include Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, and many more. To find a Municipal Court in your city and state, or find out which courts handle cases involving local laws, visit CourtReference.com for a complete directory of court locations and cases heard by which courts for every state. �