A municipal crime is an act that violates local city or county rules and regulations. These crimes, although not as serious as a misdemeanor or felony, can still have consequences for your future including a criminal record and fines. Merely paying the fine will result in an entry of “guilty.” It is always a good idea to consult with an municipal criminal law attorney any time you are charged with a crime and your freedom and future are at stake.
Common Municipal Crimes
The municipal court system is different that the circuit court or supreme court and they sit in cities or towns. Municipal courts are smaller and have the power to hear only a limited type of cases. Some common crimes that are determined through the municipal court system include:
- Possession of marijuana
- DWI/ DUI
- Disturbing the peace
- Disorderly conduct
- Traffic tickets
Process in Municipal Court
Criminal matters always require a court appearance. Therefore, if you have been charged with a municipal crime, you will be required to appear in court or risk a warrant being issued for your arrest. Once you appear in court you will be given the opportunity to postpone the hearing to request an attorney before entering a plea. Hiring an attorney is always recommended whenever an individual is charged with a crime. The sooner you hire an attorney, the better to protect your freedom and reputation.
If you do not request a continuance to speak to an attorney, or if your attorney is present with you, the trial process will begin. You may either enter a guilty plea or fight the charges against you by offering witness testimony or other evidence in your defense. Once the trial is complete, the judge will decide the outcome of your case and your sentence.
Potential Penalties for Municipal Crimes
If you are found guilty of committing a municipal crime, the consequences are more severe than you may think. A municipal crime involves more than paying a ticket and can include jail time of up to one year as well as fines up to $1000 if convicted in certain cases depending on the municipality where the violation was committed.
Hire an Attorney to Fight Your Municipal Violation
As with any criminal case, you can choose to fight your case on your own but trusting an attorney to represent you and fight for your best interests is always advisable. A municipal crime can be serious and can have an impact on your future. Talk with a municipal criminal defense lawyer at the KC Defense Counsel to discuss your options and the best course of action to help ensure the best possible outcome in the case against you.