Onalaska Municipal Court – Onalaska, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited area of authority over criminal charges and civil disputes within its location. These courts can be found at the county or city tier.

Onalaska Municipal Court INformation

Court: Onalaska Municipal Court
Address: “372 South FM 356, PO Box 880, Onalaska, TX 77360”
Phone: 936-646-5376

City: Onalaska
County: Polk
State: Texas

What is the purpose of the Onalaska Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil cases, and traffic incidents. Courts like Onalaska Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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 family law matters, injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Onalaska, Texas

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courts in the U.S.. 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 serve their population or to save money on expenditures. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

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

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

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 have often been called 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 members to assist for a specific time period.

Judges administer 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
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The Process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court will need to appear 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 in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or given a jail term if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: 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 Onalaska, TX

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

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge can have penalties up to $1k 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 charges. 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.

Onalaska Municipal Court 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 a person might need to depend on the type of case they have before the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Onalaska Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Onalaska, 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 area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty offenses and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Onalaska, 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 handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Onalaska 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 they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by the people with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal magistrates are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must finish several hours of ongoing courses every period to maintain their credentials.