Bill Text - HB297 (2011)

Allowing municipalities to establish municipal courts.

Revision: Jan. 25, 2011, midnight






AN ACT allowing municipalities to establish municipal courts.

SPONSORS: Rep. L. Perkins, Rock 14

COMMITTEE: Judiciary


This bill allows municipalities to establish municipal courts.

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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.




In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Eleven

AN ACT allowing municipalities to establish municipal courts.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1 New Chapter; Municipal Courts. Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 502-A the following new chapter:



502-B:1 Municipal Courts Authorized. Notwithstanding RSA 502-A:11, RSA 502-A:35, or any other law to the contrary, municipalities may create local courts to enforce violation level offenses under RSA 265 as well as any local ordinances.

502-B:2 Creation of Courts. Municipalities may create municipal courts by a majority vote of the legislative body upon the following question: “Shall the town/city of _________________ create a municipal court in accordance with the provisions of RSA 502-B, to enforce motor vehicle related offenses under RSA 265 and local ordinances, with revenue being shared by the municipality and the state after expenses?"

502-B:3 Administration of Municipal Courts.

I. Municipalities which create municipal courts shall be responsible for all expenses of the administration of the courts.

II. At a minimum, each municipal court shall have a full-time or part-time municipal court judge nominated by the community for approval by the governor and counsel. A municipal court judge shall, at a minimum, be technically qualified by being a member of the New Hampshire bar for at least 5 years. A municipal court judge shall be subject to discipline under the authority of the judicial conduct committee.

III. Each municipal court shall have at least one clerk for the administration of the court.

IV. A municipal court shall be located in a suitable place for the hearing of cases and the storage of documents.

502-B:4 Rules of Procedure.

I. The rules of procedure for the municipal court shall be the same as those of the district court.

II. Appeals from a municipal court decision shall be heard in the district court with jurisdiction over the municipality in which the district court is located.

502-B:5 Fines.

I. Fines for violations shall be the same as those for similar offenses tried before district courts using the uniform fine schedule.

II. Fines shall be payable to the clerk of the municipal court.

III. After allowance for administrative expenses, 1/2 of the annual fine revenue shall be submitted to the state in the same manner as fines from district courts.

IV. Penalty assessments shall be authorized and shall be payable by the municipal court clerk to the state in the same manner as in the district courts. Municipalities shall not count the penalty assessments as local revenue.

502-B:6 General Provisions.

I. Municipalities shall pay the salary, benefits, and other administrative costs required for the proper administration of the local municipal court.

II. The supreme court shall review the operations and administration of municipal courts and make any rules in accordance with the New Hampshire constitution and RSA 541-A that it deems necessary for the proper administration of municipal courts.

III. Multiple municipalities may join together to form multi-jurisdictional municipal courts, sharing the costs and revenues in proportion to activity. These multi-jurisdictional municipal courts shall consist only of communities which border the municipality in which the municipal court is located.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2012.