San Antonio Municipal Court – San Antonio, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with restrictive area of authority over criminal offenses and civil matters inside its area. These courts can be found at the city or county level.

San Antonio Municipal Court INformation

Court: San Antonio Municipal Court
Address: “401 S Frio St, San Antonio, TX 78207”
Phone: 210-207-8970

City: San Antonio
County: Bexar
State: Texas

What is the purpose of the San Antonio Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they deal with minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courts like San Antonio 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, personal injury cases, more serious criminal infractions, or lawsuits.

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

TYPES OF affairs seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in San Antonio, Texas

Municipal courts are the entry level 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 overhead costs. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic crimes, low level crimes and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony, 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 San Antonio?

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 have often been called city courts or town courts. Cases 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 period.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against individuals by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to secure evidence from crime scenes
  • start preliminary examinations to determine if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court matter

The common process of a municipal courthouse case can be tricky. The next portion is an overview of the most common steps involved in a typical municipal court case.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons is sent 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 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 $1k or given a jail term 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 San Antonio, 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 accurate for the San Antonio Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge can carry 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 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 will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

San Antonio Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court could 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 matter they have in front of the court, where it’s at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the San Antonio Municipal Court

What is municipal court in San Antonio, Texas?

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

What does the municipal court handle in San Antonio, 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 San Antonio 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 elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted according to the number of people. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must finish many hours of ongoing material every year to maintain their licenses.