Alton Municipal Court – Alton, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes within its area. These courts can be found at the city or county level.

Alton Municipal Court INformation

Court: Alton Municipal Court
Address: “509 S Alton Blvd, Alton, TX 78573”
Phone: 956-432-0760

City: Alton
County: Hidalgo
State: Texas

What is the purpose of the Alton Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic incidents. Courthouses like Alton Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

On the other hand, the role of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve divorce or other family matters, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and larger civil matters.

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Alton, Texas

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better assist their citizens or to save money on expenditures. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony case, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanors and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

how are cases managed in the municipal court in Alton?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as city courts or town courts. Cases are managed by a magistrate who is usually a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to serve for a specific time period.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to seize evidence from crime locations
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to learn if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal courthouse case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the most common steps involved in a typical municipal court case.

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is given when a person has been charged with violating a local ordinance or state law. The person who has received the summons will need to be present at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they fail to appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Show Up before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to show up after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Alton, TX

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed lawyer. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be accurate for the Alton Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can have penalties up to $1k or one year in jail. A person’s driving privileges may be suspended for six months if they receive three speeding tickets within 12 months.

The penalties for different charges in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an offenses. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a prescription for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Alton Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the type of matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Alton Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Alton, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal matters within a town or municipality. Municipal courts have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanor crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in Alton, Texas?

Depending on the scope of the municipality, a municipal court can handle a civil division (cases with less than  $15,000 at issue), a traffic/criminal division, or a housing and environmental division. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Alton Municipal Court have?

The number of judges depends on the municipality’s size.

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Texas?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until they retire. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete several hours of continuing courses every period to maintain their credentials.