Magistrate Law Law and Legal Definition
A magistrate is a civil officer who holds executive, legislative, or judicial authority. It commonly refers to lower court justices, such as justices of the peace. Federal magistrates are appointed by District Court judges to hear and decide pre-trial motions, conduct hearings, and submit proposed findings of fact and recommendations to the District Court judges. The term may be used generically to refer to any judge of a court, or anyone officially performing a judge's functions.
The following is a list of some types of duties that may be performed by a magistrate:
- To issue arrest warrants.
- To issue search warrants.
- To admit to bail or commit to jail.
- To issue warrants and subpoenas.
- To issue civil warrants and pre-trial levies and seizures.
- To administer oaths and take acknowledgements.
- To act as a conservator of the peace.
- To accept prepayment for traffic and certain minor misdemeanor offenses.
- To issue emergency custody orders.
- To issue temporary mental detention orders.
- To issue medical emergency custody and temporary detention orders.
- To issue emergency protective orders.
- To issue out of service orders.