Tatum Municipal Court – Tatum, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal offenses and civil matters within its geographic area. These courts can be located at the county or city tier.

Tatum Municipal Court INformation

Court: Tatum Municipal Court
Address: “PO Box 1105, Tatum, TX 75691”
Phone: 903-947-2282

City: Tatum
County: Rusk
State: Texas

What is the role of the Tatum Municipal Court?

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

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 law matters, personal injury, more serious criminal infractions, or breaches of contract.

County courts have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that won’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felonies and bigger civil matters.

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

Municipal courts are the entry 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 serve their citizens or to save money on expenditures. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors and code violations.

You will not find a standard for what establishes a misdemeanor charge versus a felony charge, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanor charges 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 Tatum?

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 often known as 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 board to serve for a specific period of time.

Magistrates preside over hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and 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 locations
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to understand 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 is an overview of the steps involved in a typical municipal court case.

First Step: Issuance of Summons

A summons is issued when someone has been charged with violating a town rule or state law. The individual who has received the summons will need to be present at their assigned time and place, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they fail to appear, 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: 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 Tatum, TX

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed attorney. The material below represents common penalties, but may not be 100% accurate for the Tatum Municipal Court. 

A violation is an offense that carries a penalty of $500 or below, while a misdemeanor can have penalties up to $1000 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 crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a medical prescription for it then you will be fined up to $2,000 or spend up to six months in jail.

Tatum 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 an individual might need to depend on the type of case they have before the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be present.

Questions ABOUT the Tatum Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Tatum, Texas?

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

What does the municipal court handle in Tatum, 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. More serious cases/crimes are handled by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Tatum 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 term of years or until they retire. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted based on population. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal education and must complete several hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their credentials.