Buffalo Municipal Court – Buffalo, TX

Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small area of authority over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its geographic area. These courts can be found at the county or city level.

Buffalo Municipal Court INformation

Court: Buffalo Municipal Court
Address: “Buffalo City Hall Building 144 Avant St, PO Box 219, Buffalo, TX 75831”
Phone: 903-322-5347

City: Buffalo
County: Leon
State: Texas

What is the role of the Buffalo Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are often called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Buffalo 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 breaches of contract.

County courts 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 bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Buffalo, Texas

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courthouses in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some locales share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their citizens or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level crimes and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony, 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

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Buffalo?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known city courts or town courts. Cases are handled by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council board to assist for a specific time.

Judges manage hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and 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
  • start preliminary inquiries to learn if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The following material is an overview of the most common steps involved in a regular municipal court matter.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when someone has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The individual who has received the summons will need to appear at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Second Step: Appearance 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 Buffalo, TX

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can have penalties up to $1k or one year in local 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 license for it then you could be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Buffalo Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of case they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be present.

Common Questions ABOUT the Buffalo Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Buffalo, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Buffalo, Texas?

Depending on the size 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. More serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Buffalo Municipal Court have?

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

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 the people with each precinct’s results evaluated based on population. Municipal magistrates are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish multiple hours of continuing education every year to maintain their licenses.