South Houston Municipal Court – South Houston, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

South Houston Municipal Court INformation

Court: South Houston Municipal Court
Address: “1019 Dallas St, South Houston, TX 77587”
Phone: 713-947-7700 ext. 342

City: South Houston
County: Harris
State: Texas

What is the role of the South Houston Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courts like South Houston Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

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 family matters, accident cases, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and bigger civil cases.

TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in South Houston, Texas

Municipal courts are the bottom rung 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 assist 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 tickets, small criminal charges and code infractions.

You will not find a standard for what makes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony charge, 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 South Houston?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known 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 time.

Judges preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for an arrest
  • Set bail amounts and the conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against individuals by police officers
  • Issue search warrants to law enforcement officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary inquiries to establish if there is enough evidence to mount a charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is given when a person has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court 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 show up, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or given a jail sentence if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up 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 South Houston, TX

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

A violation is a crime that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor charge can carry penalties up to $1k 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 charges in municipal courthouses 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 $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

South Houston Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place or system. The records that a person 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 present.

Common Questions ABOUT the South Houston Municipal Court

What is municipal court in South Houston, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a town or municipality. Municipal courts have a small area of influence and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanor crimes.

What does the municipal court handle in South 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 South Houston 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 term of years or until retirement. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results judged based on population. Municipal judges are often not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete many hours of ongoing material every year to maintain their licenses.