Van Alstyne Municipal Court – Van Alstyne, TX

by | Oct 28, 2021

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

Van Alstyne Municipal Court INformation

Court: Van Alstyne Municipal Court
Address: “242 N Preston Ave, PO Box 247, Van Alstyne, TX 75495”
Phone: 903-482-5251

City: Van Alstyne
County: Grayson
State: Texas

What is the role of the Van Alstyne Municipal Court?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor criminal charges, civil disputes, and traffic matters. Courthouses like Van Alstyne 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, accident cases, more serious criminal infractions, or contract disputes.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can not exceed the amount of $15,000, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and larger civil matters.

TYPES OF Matters HEARD IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Van Alstyne, Texas

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courthouses in the U.S.. 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 serve their people or to save money on overhead costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court vary depending on the municipality, but typically include traffic tickets, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

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

Municipal courts are the lowest level 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. 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 members to help for a specific time.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for 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 law enforcement officers in order to secure evidence from crime locations
  • start preliminary inquiries to understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The common process of a Municipal Court Case

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

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is issued when an individual has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The person who has received the 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 never 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 respond after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the person. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Van Alstyne, TX

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

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

Van Alstyne Municipal Court Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal court may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one area or system. The records that an individual might need to depend on the type of charge 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 available.

Questions ABOUT the Van Alstyne Municipal Court

What is municipal court in Van Alstyne, Texas?

In Texas, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a city or municipality. Municipal courts will 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 Van Alstyne, 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 deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Van Alstyne 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 duration or until they retire. Judges are sometimes elected by the people with each precinct’s results judged according to population. Municipal judges are generally not attorneys but have some legal training and must finish many hours of continuing education every period to maintain their credentials.