Taft Municipal Court – Taft, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with small jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil matters inside its geographic area. These courts can be located at the city or county level.

Taft Municipal Court INformation

Court: Taft Municipal Court
Address: “501 Green Ave, Taft, TX 78390”
Phone: 361-528-3512

City: Taft
County: San Patricio
State: Texas

What is the role of the Taft Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are commonly called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Taft 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 courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil actions that can’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felonies and more expansive civil matters.

TYPES OF Matters seen IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Taft, Texas

Municipal courts are the bottom rung of courthouses in the United States. 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 administrative costs. The cases that may be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic matters, small criminal charges and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor versus a felony case, 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 Taft?

Municipal courts are the first tier of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic crimes, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are popularly known city courts or town courts. Matters are handled 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.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

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

The usual process of a Municipal Court matter

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A court summons is sent when an individual has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The citizen who has received the summons from the court will need to be present at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to respond for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t come, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1000 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 Taft, 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 100% accurate for the Taft Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that has a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can have 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 crimes in municipal courts 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 $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Taft 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 a person might need to depend on the matter they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what kind of of information is needed by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Taft Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Taft, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal jurisdiction within a city or municipality. Municipal courts 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 Taft, 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. More serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Taft Municipal Court have?

The number 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 commonly chosen by the people with each precinct’s results weighted based on population. Municipal judges are generally not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish multiple hours of continuing courses every period to maintain their licenses.