Sundown Municipal Court – Sundown, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Sundown Municipal Court INformation

Court: Sundown Municipal Court
Address: “PO Box 600, Sundown, TX 79372”
Phone: 806-229-3131

City: Sundown
County: Hockley
State: Texas

What is the purpose of the Sundown Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they handle minor criminal charges, civil cases, and traffic tickets. Courthouses like Sundown Municipal Court are the first level of court for these types of cases.

In other situations, the role of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family matters, personal injury cases, more serious criminal charges, or contract disputes.

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

TYPES OF Legal Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Sundown, Texas

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some places share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better assist their citizens or to save money on expenditures. The matters that will be heard by a municipal court can change based on on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, low level criminal charges and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what constitutes a misdemeanor crime versus a felony crime, 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 Sundown?

Municipal courts are the first 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. Matters are managed 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 period.

Judges administer hearings to determine:

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

The usual process of a Municipal Court Case

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

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A court summons is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a city ordinance or state law. The individual who has received the court summons will need to be present at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty anyways and could be fined up to $1k or sentenced to jail time 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 individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Sundown, TX

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

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor 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 offenses in municipal courts vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you could be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Sundown Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government could be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one location or system. The records that an individual 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 needed by law to be available.

Common Questions ABOUT the Sundown Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Sundown, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower level with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Sundown, 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 Sundown 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 term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes chosen by the people with each precinct’s results evaluated according to the number of people. Municipal judges are often not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete several hours of continuing material every year to maintain their licenses.