Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14) – Houston, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14) INformation

Court: Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14)
Address: “8300 Mykawa Rd, Houston, TX 77048”
Phone: 832-394-2202

City: Houston
County: Harris
State: Texas

What is the purpose of the Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14)?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courts like Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14) are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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 charges, or contract disputes.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can’t exceed the amount of $15k, while the circuits courts handle felony matters and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF 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 administrative costs. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, low level crimes and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor crime 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 handled 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 crimes, 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 serve for a specific duration.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and terms of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against suspects by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

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

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent when an individual has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The citizen 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 don’t come, 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.

Step Two: 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 Houston, TX

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed attorney. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be accurate for the Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14). 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can have penalties up to $1,000.00 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 will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14) 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 case they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be available.

Questions ABOUT the Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14)

What is municipal court in Houston, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a town or municipality. Municipal courts thus have a small jurisdiction and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty crimes 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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Houston Municipal Court – Southeast (Courts 13 & 14) have?

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

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Texas?

A municipal court judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set duration or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated according to population. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must complete multiple hours of ongoing courses every year to maintain their licenses.