Section 12-14-51

Magistrates deemed chief officers of agency; appointment and powers of magistrates.

(a) The magistrates shall be considered the chief officers of the municipal court administrative agency.

(b) The Supreme Court may, by rule, prescribe procedures for the appointment of magistrates by class or position and, in addition thereto, provide for the appointment of other magistrates by the Administrative Director of Courts, upon recommendation by municipal judges.

(c) The powers of a magistrate shall be limited to the following:

(1) Issuance of arrest warrants.

(2) Granting of bail in minor misdemeanor prosecutions in accordance with the discretionary bail schedule and approving property, cash, and professional surety bonds upon a municipal judge's approval.

(3) Receiving of pleas of guilty in minor misdemeanors where a schedule of fines has been prescribed by rule.

(4) Accountability to the municipal court for all uniform traffic tickets and complaints issued, including all electronic traffic tickets or e-tickets, as defined in Section 32-1-4, in instances in which the court has, in its discretion, determined to use e-tickets, and for all moneys received and records of offenses.

(5) Accepting and screening affidavits of substantial hardship upon a municipal judge's approval and, if authorized by court order, assigning attorneys on a rotating basis from a list approved by the court.

(6) Conducting arraignments and setting nonguilty pleas for trial, upon a municipal judge's approval.

(7) Opening court and calling the docket, upon a municipal judge's approval.

(8) Granting continuances in municipal ordinance violation cases, upon a municipal judge's approval.

(9) Dismissing no driver's license violations pursuant to Section 32-6-9 where the defendant shows proof of a driver's license at the time the citation was written.

(10) Dismissing mandatory liability insurance violations pursuant to Section 32-7A-20 where the defendant has produced satisfactory evidence that at the time of the citation the motor vehicle was covered by a liability insurance policy in accordance with Section 32-7A-4.

(11) Dismissing equipment violations where a municipal ordinance allows and where the law enforcement officer signs the uniform traffic ticket and complaint verifying that the equipment has been replaced.

(12) Using emails or text messages to notify a defendant of any legal process required by the court in addition to any other form of communication as provided for by law, at the discretion of the municipal court clerk and the magistrate upon request and consent by the defendant, using contact information provided by the defendant.

(13) Any other authority as may be granted by law.

(d) In the performance of any official duty provided for by this section, a municipal magistrate shall have absolute judicial immunity from any liability arising from the execution of the duties provided for by this section.

(Acts 1975, No. 1205, p. 2384, §8-110; Act 2006-412, p. 1024, §1; Act 2006-579, p. 1522, §1; Act 2018-365, §1.)