Surfside Beach Municipal Court – Surfside Beach, TX

Oct 28, 2021

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

Surfside Beach Municipal Court INformation

Court: Surfside Beach Municipal Court
Address: “1304 Monument Dr, Surfside Beach, TX 77541”
Phone: 979-233-1597

City: Surfside Beach
County: Brazoria
State: Texas

What is the role of the Surfside Beach Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” Which means that they deal with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic violations. Courts like Surfside Beach Municipal Court are the first level of court for this group of matters.

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 divorce or other family matters, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

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 matters and more expansive civil cases.

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

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courts 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 assist their population or to save money on expenditures. The cases that could be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, criminal misdemeanors and code violations.

You will not see a set definition for what makes a misdemeanor charge 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 managed in the municipal court in Surfside Beach?

Municipal courts are the lowest level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic matters, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known 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 manage hearings to determine:

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

The common process of a Municipal Court matter

The common 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 matter.

First Step: An Issuance of Summons

A summons from the court is sent when an individual has been charged with violating a town ordinance or state law. The citizen 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 appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1k or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Show Up 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 Surfside Beach, 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 100% accurate for the Surfside Beach Municipal Court. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can possess penalties up to $1000 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 offenses in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an charges. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Surfside Beach Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court 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 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.

Questions ABOUT the Surfside Beach Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Surfside Beach, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction 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 misdemeanors.

What does the municipal court handle in Surfside Beach, 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 Surfside Beach Municipal Court have?

The count of judges depends on the municipality’s population.

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 sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results judged based on population. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal training and must complete several hours of ongoing courses every period to maintain their credentials.