History of the Courthouse
The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court was established by the New Mexico State Legislature in 1980.
It consolidated the functions of Albuquerque Municipal Court, Bernalillo County Magistrate Court and Small Claims Court into a single court operation. It is the only court of its kind in the state of New Mexico.
The Metropolitan Court is a court of limited jurisdiction. That means it handles petty misdemeanor and misdemeanor crimes
that carry a maximum jail term of 364 days and fines of up to $1,000. The Civil Division presides over cases in which the amount in dispute does not exceed $10,000, subject to the other jurisdictional limits of the court. The judges at Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court also conduct Felony First Appearances and Preliminary Examination Hearings.
The court was designated as a court of record in 1994 for domestic violence and DWI cases. It is also a court of record for civil cases other than landlord/tenant matters.
Effective June 14, 2019, with the amendment to NMSA 1978, 34-8A-6, appeals from Metro Court in record cases go to the NM Court of Appeals. Appeals in all other cases are de novo and go to the Second Judicial District Court.
In 1997, the court established a DWI/Drug Court. Since then, the court has established 10 additional Specialty Court Programs; Behavioral Health Court, Behavioral Health DWI Court, Community Veterans Court, Competency Court, Courts to School, Domestic Violence Early Intervention Program, Domestic Violence Solutions Treatment Education Program, Outreach Court, Pre-Adjudication Animal Welfare Court, and the Urban Native American Healing to Wellness Court.
Basics about the Court:
The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court has nineteen judges: 14 in the Criminal Division, three in the Civil Division and two in the Felony Division. Unlike other courts of limited jurisdiction in New Mexico, all Metropolitan Court judges are attorneys who have practiced law for at least three years. The court is staffed by about 340 full-time employees.