Carthage Municipal Court – Carthage, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil matters inside its geographic area. These courts can be found at the city or county tier.

Carthage Municipal Court INformation

Court: Carthage Municipal Court
Address: “321 W Panola, PO Box 400, Carthage, TX 75633”
Phone: 903-693-5032

City: Carthage
County: Panola
State: Texas

What is the role of the Carthage Municipal Court?

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

In other situations, the role of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family matters, injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.

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

TYPES OF Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Carthage, Texas

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts in the U.S.. 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 service their citizens or to save money on overhead costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level criminal charges and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor crimes and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

How are cases handled in the municipal court in Carthage?

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

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

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

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

The process of a municipal court case can be tricky. The following is an overview of the common items involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is given when someone has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The person who has received the summons will need to appear at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail sentence 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 Carthage, TX

Penalties change often, which is why it’s best to speak with licensed attorney near you. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Carthage Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor can have penalties up to $1,000.00 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 offenses in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Carthage Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Carthage Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Carthage, Texas?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Carthage, Texas?

Depending on the area 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 Carthage Municipal Court have?

The count 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 duration or until retirement. Judges are commonly chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal magistrates are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their licenses.