Cotulla Municipal Court – Cotulla, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Cotulla Municipal Court INformation

Court: Cotulla Municipal Court
Address: “117 N Front St, Cotulla, TX 78014”
Phone: 830-879-2367

City: Cotulla
County: La Salle
State: Texas

What is the purpose of the Cotulla Municipal Court?

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

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

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that won’t exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felonies and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Cotulla, 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 places share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better serve their population or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that could be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

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

what is the procedure for cases in the municipal court in Cotulla?

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 have often been called city courts or town courts. Matters are handled by a magistrate who is usually an attorney, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to help for a specific duration.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the 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 protect evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to determine if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

The process of a municipal court case can be difficult to navigate. The following is an overview of the steps involved in a typical municipal court case.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is issued when a person has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the summons will need to show up at their assigned time and courthouse, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they fail to appear, 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 respond after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Cotulla, TX

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can have penalties up to $1000 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 crimes. 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.

Cotulla Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the type of charge they have before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is required by law to be available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Cotulla Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Cotulla, Texas?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Cotulla, 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. More serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Cotulla 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 term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by precincts with each precinct’s results weighted according to population. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of ongoing material every year to maintain their credentials.