Some cases are handled at the local level. These are the cases that directly involve local ordinances or in some cases, simply fall under the jurisdiction of the local municipal court. In most towns and cities throughout the country, there is a municipal court. In some places, though, one municipal court covers an entire county.
Cases involving violations of local ordinances are handled in municipal court. These can be criminal cases or civil cases, depending on the ordinance violated and the nature of the violation. Municipal courts also handle courthouse weddings and legal name changes. Generally, municipals courts are divided into multiple divisions, each for a specific type of case. Navigating the municipal court system can be confusing, even if you have experience working with other courts. Your lawyer can help you navigate the municipal court system and ensure that your case is handled appropriately.
Cases Handled in Municipal Court
In municipal court, the cases that are heard typically include:
- Traffic violations;
- Nuisance charges;
- Certain criminal offenses, like shoplifting and trespassing;
- Small claims cases;
- Housing law cases, such as landlord/tenant disputes;
- Arbitrations for business disputes;
- Orders of Protection;
- Tax issues and disputes;
- Contract disputes;
- Zoning and permitting disputes;
- Certain civil disputes; and
- Felony preliminary hearings.
As you can see, there is a huge range for the cases that are handled in municipal court. When you receive a summons, the document typically states where to report for your court date. If you are ever unsure about where to go to handle your case, discuss it with your lawyer.
Why You Should Work with a Lawyer No Matter What Type of Case you are Facing
Never underestimate the value of working with a lawyer, even when you are facing a relatively low-level case. Even at this level, you could be facing fines and other penalties for your alleged actions, like points on your driver’s license and in some cases, such as shoplifting, jail time. Take your case seriously, no matter how it is charged.
Taking your case seriously means hiring an experienced lawyer to represent your case. He or she can coach you through interactions with law enforcement and court representatives and help you prepare for your court date by discussing how to respond to certain questions and how to present yourself in court. He or she can also help you gather and use relevant evidence to support your position to potentially have your charged lowered or even dismissed.
Work with an Experienced Chicago Municipal Lawyer
At Lopez & Sanchez, our team is equipped to help you work through cases heard at the municipal, county, state, or federal level. Never assume that hiring a lawyer is not worth your time just because your case is a small issue being handled in municipal court. To get started with an experienced civil lawyer, contact our office to set up your free legal consultation with us.
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