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Municipal Court Frequently Asked Questions

Generally speaking, walk-in court appearances (arraignments) are taken every Monday through Thursday on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning. The court opens at 7:30 a.m. and people are checked in until approximately 10:00 a.m. or until the Judge determines that their caseload is full. The line begins forming outside the building at approximately 7:30 a.m. each morning. There are some rare occasions when the regular schedule may have to be cancelled due to unavailability of Judges. To be sure that a Judge is available the date you want to appear, please call (575-541-2224) in advance. You may also check the calendar page for a list of available walk-in dates/times. Walk-in arraignments are not held on Fridays.

Generally speaking, a walk-in court appearance will probably take anywhere from 1 ½ to 3 hours. This time depends greatly on your position on the first-come first-serve list, the amount of other people checked in for court that day and also on the Judge’s docket on that particular day. Be assured that if your appearance requires a wait, the Judges are attending to other court matters that also require their attention.

Everyone has 30 days from the date the ticket is issued to pay a fine or make a court date in Municipal Court.

Criminal citations and/or arrests have specific dates set for appearance, please refer to the paperwork that was given to you by the police officer, your bondsman or the jail for your specific date and time.

There are several options available for resolving your citation/offense in Municipal Court. Not all options are available for all citations.

    1. Request dismissal of a citation upon receipt of proof
    2. Pay a fine
    3. Plead “Not Guilty” and schedule a Hearing before a Judge
    4. Plead “Guilty” or “No Contest” and speak to a Judge to explain the circumstances.
    5. Set a hearing for a violation that is on the list of penalty assessment violations, schedule of assessments. If your violation is not on this list, you have to see a Judge in order to be arraigned.

  • Pay by mail

    You may mail your payment along with the citation to:

    Las Cruces Municipal Court

    P.O. Box 20000

    Las Cruces, NM 88001
  • Pay in person: You may make your payment in person at Municipal Court, at the customer service window. Please bring your copy of the citation with you.
  • Pay on-line: Your fine/fee will be available for payment if it is eligible. Non-appearance in court and/or late status may affect your ability to pay on-line.

If your case is scheduled before a judge, be inside the courtroom 10 minutes prior to the time you are scheduled.

· Cellular phones and pagers are not allowed.

· Hats must be removed.

· No gum chewing, food or drink.

· Proper attire should be worn.

· Do not talk in the courtroom.

YES. The Court does accept major credit cards at the customer service windows. Only the cardholder is allowed to utilize a credit card for payment of fines/fees in the Municipal Court. For example: A son/daughter MAY NOT come in with their mother’s credit card to pay for fines or fees.

A change in court dates must be requested prior to the scheduled date/time. The Court cannot change court dates over the phone. One date change for initial appearances on traffic violations may be requested at the customer service windows 1 thru 3. The clerks are only authorized to give up to 2 weeks. For scheduled hearings, all other date changes must be requested at the Docketing Clerk’s window on the first floor of the courthouse.

NO. Only the person charged with an offense can plead guilty or pay a fine unless and attorney is hired and files the proper paperwork with the court clerk's office

NO. The Judges will not allow a friend or relative to appear on your behalf unless there are extenuating circumstances such as hospitalization. In those cases documentation is required and the Judge will likely not take action on the case.

Some tickets require a mandatory court appearance. The only violations which can be paid in full without a mandatory appearance in court are on the Penalty Assessment Schedule in the Las Cruces Municipal Code, Chapter 27. If you have questions about whether you need to see a judge or if your citation can be paid in full please contact us at (575) 541-2227.

If you agreed to pay the citation and signed the Penalty Assessment section of the ticket a guilty plea was entered on the case when you signed it. The fine should be paid in full within 30 days of the ticket being issued. If you need to make payment arrangements, you can appear in court during any of our Walk-in Arraignments times prior to the due date to make payment arrangements with the Judge.

Withdrawal of the guilty plea entered at the time the ticket was issued can be entertained upon filing such motion in the court clerk's office on the appropriate forms. The court clerk's office cannot assist or advise you on what forms to use. If legal advice is needed, please consult a private attorney.

MAYBE. You will have to see the Judge to request community service. It is the Judge's discretion whether to allow an intake interview to determine if you are indeed an appropriate candidate for the Court's Community Service Program. The intake costs $15 and cannot be worked off with the Community Service if approved, it is a fee required to be paid prior to the intake interview in order to determine your eligibility.

If you are an appropriate candidate, the Court's Compliance Office will determine and coordinate the work site for you. Work sites are assigned by the court and cannot be picked or arranged by the applicant. Community service hours worked will be credited to your fines/fees using the current federal minimum wage rate.

Typically, it takes approximately 30-35 minutes to be processed for court in the mornings. It varies throughout the remainder of the day and may be longer if the line of people waiting is longer than normal. The slowest time of the day is generally during the noon hour and between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The lines are normally shortest Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday after 12:00 p.m. Monday mornings tend to be very busy also and a longer wait should be expected. We are always very busy the 1st and 2nd day after a holiday or closure.

To set a court date because you want to meet with the officer and have a pretrial or trial on your case you must come to the customer service window counter at the courthouse. Check in with a court clerk who will determine if your case can be set without an appearance in front of a judge or not. If a hearing can be set without seeing the judge, the clerk at the window will set your court date and you will sign a notice to appear at a later time for a hearing.