The Municipal Judge has jurisdiction in all matters involving violation of the South Milwaukee Code of Ordinances. Ordinance violations are legally classified as civil offenses as opposed to criminal offenses. Accordingly, the court does not have authority to impose jail sentences as a penalty for the offense. Upon conviction, the court usually imposes a money forfeiture. In the event a defendant fails to pay a fine, the court then assumes the authority to impose a jail sentence.
All forfeitures and fines collected are deposited in the city’s general fund and are used by the city for its general purposes and operations. Every person accused of an ordinance violation has various legal rights and responsibilities. Individuals are entitled to be represented by counsel, to request adjournments to prepare their case, to request a jury trial, to request a transfer of their case before a different judge or to a Milwaukee County Court, and is entitled to appeal the decision of the Municipal Court to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Any person who has been arrested and feels that they have a defense to the alleged violation, should take advantage of their rights to present their case to the court.