What you need to know if you're going to Huntsville Municipal Court
Where is the court located?
The court is located at 815 Wheeler Ave NW, Huntsville, AL 35801
What sort of cases are handled at this courthouse?
Huntsville Municipal Court handles misdemeanor criminal and traffic offenses that occur within the city limits of Huntsville. A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that does not have a range of punishment greater than one year; if you've been accused of a misdemeanor crime that occurred within the city limits of Huntsville your case will probably be heard in the Huntsville Municipal Court. Similarly, if you've been accused of a traffic offense occurring within the city limits of Huntsville that case also will be heard by the Huntsville Municipal Court.
What sort of punishment can I expect if I am convicted of a crime in Huntsville Municipal Court?
Most criminal cases in Huntsville Municipal Court carry a maximum sentence of 180 days in jail and the maximum fine of $500. A DUI charge may carry a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine as high as $6000.
How does the Huntsville Municipal Court operate?
There are for Municipal Court judges who handle the hundreds of cases that passed through this court. If you have a case in the Municipal Court, your first step will be an arraignment; at the arraignment, you will tell the judge with you are pleading guilty or not guilty. For those people who are confined in the Madison County jail, their arraignment will be held by video conference.
For those individuals were not able to afford an attorney the Huntsville Municipal Court has a variety of public defenders available to assist those people who are accused of crimes and who are too poor to obtain their own lawyers.
What can I expect to happen at my arraignment?
You will be expected to either plead guilty, not guilty or not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect at the time of your arraignment. If you plead guilty, the judge will sentence you to whatever the court thinks is appropriate under the circumstances; you should be aware that if the court thinks it is appropriate they may sentence you to jail.
If you enter a plea of not guilty your case will be reset for another time.
You should, at the time of arraignment, let the court know if you think that you will not be able to afford to hire an attorney. If you tell the court that you think you will not be able to afford an attorney, the court will have you fill out a document called "an affidavit of indigency." Based upon your income and expenses the court will determine whether you qualify to be represented by the public defender's office.
If you are able to afford to hire an attorney you should retain the services of a competent criminal defense lawyer as quickly as possible.
How does my case proceed after my arraignment?
After the arraignment, your case will be scheduled for trial. On your trial date, your case will be resolved either by the trial before the judge will determine whether you're guilty or innocent based upon the evidence presented before them or through some other form of negotiations that could result in a guilty plea, a dismissal, or an agreement that the charts will be dismissed. If you successfully complete some type of counseling program.
Are there non-trial options available for me?
Huntsville Municipal Court has a variety of diversionary programs. In most of these programs, you must admit guilt to the judge but, the judge will not accept your plea or find you guilty at the time of your admission, instead you will enter into an appropriate program and, if you are successful, at the conclusion of the program be permitted to withdraw your previously entered guilty plea and the charges against you will be dismissed. This is very important. If you would like to seek the expungement of your criminal record at some point in the future.
Be aware that these programs require you to accept responsibility for your actions and to take appropriate measures to correct whatever behavior led to your being arrested. If you are asserting that you are not guilty of the crime than these nontrial options will not be available to you.,
What happens if I want to appeal my case?
If you have been found guilty, you may choose to appeal your case. Most people who appeal to the Circuit Court of Madison County and request that the case be reheard before a jury. While seldom used, some people may choose to appeal directly to the court of criminal appeals to address a specific legal issue. If you wish to appeal your case you must provide the court with notice and you must complete all necessary paperwork within 14 days or less. If you fail to complete your appeal prior to the deadline your appeal will be denied.
If you have pled guilty with some sort of a plea agreement, you probably have waived your right to appeal. This is because most plea agreements at the Municipal Court contain language stating that you explicitly waive your right to appeal your conviction.
There are a very small number of metered parking spots in front of the Municipal Court. Across the street from the courthouse, there is a large parking lot that is free of charge.
It is suggested that you arrive for court at least 15 minutes in advance of your court time.
Be aware that you will be required to pass through the metal detector on your way to court. You should not have any guns, knives were any illegal substances on you. You are subject to search and if you have any illegal substances. You could be arrested.
While you may choose to bring family members, if the courtroom is particularly crowded, the bailiff will direct those people who do not have cases to step out into the hallway.
If you are charged with a crime in the Huntsville Municipal court feel free to contact us at any time. Our contact information is here: