Penitas Municipal Court – Penitas, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Penitas Municipal Court INformation

Court: Penitas Municipal Court
Address: “PO Box 204, Penitas, TX 78576”
Phone: 956-581-3345

City: Penitas
County: Hidalgo
State: Texas

What is the role of the Penitas Municipal Court?

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

On the other hand, 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, personal injury, 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 $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and bigger civil cases.

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

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses 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 help their people or to save money on administrative costs. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level crimes and code infractions.

You will not see a set definition for what establishes a misdemeanor crime 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’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Penitas?

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

Judges administer 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 secure evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to determine if there is enough evidence to issue a charge

The Process of a Municipal Court matter

The common process of a municipal court case can be complicated. The following is an overview of the steps 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 town ordinance 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 answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t show up, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1,000.00 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Penitas, TX

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

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 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 license for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Penitas Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may 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 type of matter they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is required by law to be available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Penitas Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Penitas, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower court 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 crimes and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Penitas, Texas?

Depending on the scope 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 Penitas Municipal Court have?

The number 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 elected by precincts with each precinct’s results evaluated based on population. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must complete several hours of ongoing courses every period to maintain their licenses.