MUNICIPAL COURT IS HERE TO HELP
Part of a good community is having a place where citizens can have a judge address the unfortunate situations when they are victims of crime. Many citizens are familiar with the courts that are held in the Morgan County Courthouse but are unaware there is also a court that is held for cases that arise within the city limits and police jurisdiction of the City of Decatur. In fact, the City of Decatur Municipal Court is one of over 270 municipal courts that are held in municipalities all over the State. The City of Decatur Municipal Court Office and courtroom is located on the second floor of the Decatur City Hall. Cases that appear before the Municipal Court Judge range from speeding tickets to shoplifting domestic.
Most citizens are aware police officers that personally witness a criminal offense can charge and arrest a person. However, it is not as well known that a citizen must, in most situations, see a Municipal Court Magistrate when a police officer does not personally witness a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor offense carries a potential punishment of less than one year. To file a case, a citizen should personally come to the Municipal Court Office and a magistrate will assist with the required procedure for having a charge initiated by the Court.
Once a person is charged, then arrested, the case is set for an arraignment for the person charged to appear before the Municipal Judge to enter a guilty or not guilty plea. The citizen that files the charges is entitled to be present for the proceedings and will be consulted by the City Prosecutor who is an attorney that handles the case against the person charged. A court date will be set if the person charged wants a trial at which time the case is heard by the Municipal Court Judge in bench trial without a jury.
The Municipal Court Office is open every business day of City Hall and is pleased to assist citizens with questions and concerns they may have regarding the process and procedure in those unfortunate situations when charges must be filed.