Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake – Houston, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake INformation

Court: Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake
Address: “2855 Bay Area Blvd, Houston, TX 77058”
Phone: 281-283-4946

City: Houston
County: Harris
State: Texas

What is the purpose of the Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic violations. Courthouses like Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake 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 divorce or other family matters, injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Houston, 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 jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better service their population or to save money on costs. The cases that will be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level crimes and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what makes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony crime, 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 Houston?

Municipal courts are the entry level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are often known as city courts or town courts. Cases are handled 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 period of time.

Judges manage 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
  • Issue search warrants to police officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to establish if there is enough evidence to charge

The common process of a Municipal Court matter

The common path of a municipal court case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the steps involved in a regular municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when someone has been charged with violating a city rule or state law. The person who has received the court 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 never appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1000 or sentenced to jail time 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 person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Houston, TX

Penalties change often, which is why it’s best to speak with licensed lawyer near you. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake. 

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor crime can carry penalties up to $1000 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 crimes in municipal courts 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 $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court 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 case 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 available.

FAQs ABOUT the Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake

What is municipal court in Houston, Texas?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Houston, 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. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Houston Municipal Court – Clear Lake 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 retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish multiple hours of continuing courses every year to maintain their licenses.