Why is There a Lakewood Municipal Court?
It is often difficult to understand why there is a Lakewood Municipal or City court, if crimes are also prosecuted in the Jefferson County Court. The best answer is that cities like Lakewood want to regulate conduct differently and in more detail, than do state run Jefferson County and District Courts. As a result, they have a ton of city laws, all located in the Lakewood Municipal Code. Also, it is to their financial benefit to have an active court system.
Examples of Lakewood, Colorado Municipal Court Charges
In Lakewood, Colorado, the city has decided to regulate prostitution, marijuana, assault and menacing without a deadly weapon. These are charges which are also criminal offenses under state law. But not all are duplicates of state law. Here are some examples of unique Lakewood charges: Storage or Parking of Tank Vehicles, Vehicles Causing Litter, Storage of Trash, and Garbage, and Snow Removal. Many crimes seem petty, but they prevent problems particular to the City of Lakewood.
Lakewood, Colorado Municipal Code is Broad and Detailed to a Fault
When reading the Lakewood Municipal Code, which contains all the city’s laws, you start to think they are being petty and over controlling. Here are some examples of these crimes: Begging in Certain Locations, Unlawful to Make Noise, Power Equipment, and Bells and Chimes. It gets to the point that those living in Lakewood feel as if they have to walk on pins and needles to stay out of trouble. Police can charge or arrest people for violating dozens of petty offenses. To make matters worse, a good share of these crimes are unnecessary.
Police in Lakewood Choose Where to File the Case – Money Speaks
A lot of crimes in Lakewood are duplicates of state charges. So, officers can choose whether to file the case in Jefferson County’s state court, or in the Lakewood Municipal Court. Their bosses are told by the city council that whenever possible, charge in the city’s court. That way, the Lakewood court system is supported and funded. People in trouble pay a ton of money for probation fees, court fees and fines. By charging a case in the Lakewood Municipal Court, the city benefits. They get money to fund the police department, for example. It just makes good financial sense to keep the dollars at home in the City of Lakewood, Colorado, rather than giving them to the state system. This applies to most misdemeanor cases. With felony cases where people can go to prison, only the state system works. Lakewood City Courts can only handle misdemeanor criminal cases, where the maximum time in jail is one year.
If you have been charged with a Lakewood, Colorado Municipal Court crime, call our criminal defense lawyers at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.
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