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The state Court System is comprised of a Supreme Court, two Courts of Appeal, District Courts, County Courts, Municipal Courts, and Justice Courts. The state also has less common specialty courts for things like mental health, child services, veterans’ issues, and programs for adults with alcohol and drug addiction.
Most public records in the state will be open to the public. However, according to United States federal laws and Rule 12 of the Judicial Administration clearly lists those items that will not be available in public records. They are as follows:
Federal laws also protect personal or sensitive information from being included in open court documents and records.
TX makes it easy for patrons of the court to file their cases. They have a section on the TX Judicial Branch website called “Rules and Forms” where users can download the forms they need and review the rules of the court. Forms are broken down into categories for types of cases. Additionally, this state has an e-filing option called eFileTexas, which is mandatory to use for all criminal cases, and civil cases can use this system as well. They allow patrons of the court to select from a variety of e-filing vendors. Users must register for an account to begin using the system. Patrons can also read the court costs, find out who the court administration is, read local rules, use online services, read open records, find human resources and emergency management details, and use quick links to public access information.
Did you know you could access thousands of state public records online quickly and easily? Try Infotracer to perform a TX records search any time of day or night. The massive database offers records from all over the state, including Harris County, Dallas County, and Tarrant County. According to the Public Information Act TX Government Code 552 (Public Information Act), the public is granted access to all kinds of adult probation and criminal records, dockets, justice of the peace records, county clerk's offices, district clerk information, property tax records, marriage licenses, case files, case records, case information, child support records, county records, state property records, civil cases, and family court issues like divorce and bankruptcies.
Anyone can conduct a records search privately without any reason or special permission. Most records will be available online except those which have been sealed by a court order or law.
Infotracer provides free instant access to TX court records from TX district courts, county courts, municipal courts, and TX justice courts from all 11 judicial districts. The fastest way to search is by using a TX state court records search by name.
In 2012, the Texas courts received 13,264,593 filings. In 2016, the number of filings decreased by 10.2% and counted 11,916,611 filings and had 11,739,186 outgoing cases
|Court Type||Incoming Caseloads|
Domestic relations caseload of Texas at year end of 2016 has increased by 3.6% compared to the last 5 years, in 2012 the number of incoming cases have been 383,688 but are higher than in 2015.
|Year||Domestic Relations Caseload||Total Statewide Caseload|
The number of criminal cases in Texas courts counts to 2,662,239, with 337,481 felony cases and 2,324,758 misdemeanors accordingly.
|Year||Criminal Caseload||Misdemeanor Caseload||Felony Caseload|
District Courts are the general jurisdiction trial courts for the state. There is at least one in each county. In some instances, with low populations, one of these courts may serve several counties. These courts can handle felony cases, domestic relations cases, civil matters of $200 or more, land title cases, election content cases, tort cases, probate/estate matters, juvenile cases, and administrative agency appeals. Although most of these courts serve both civil and criminal matters, in some densely populated areas, they may specialize into family courts, juvenile courts, civil courts or criminal courts.
According to the state Constitution, each of the 254 counties has the right to have a County Court. However, not all of these courts perform judicial functions. In some cases, the county judges focus instead on the administration of the county government. These courts have original jurisdiction over Class A and Class B misdemeanors. They can also handle appeals from Justice Courts and Municipal courts except where special courts at Law have been created. In more heavily populated counties, these courts are split off into divisions to handle probate matters exclusively. Probate Court exist in 10 of the 15 largest metropolitan areas of the state. Most often county attorneys become county judges.
Per the TX Constitution, each county in the state must create at least one and up to eight Justice Court precincts, depending on the population and needs of the people. Each Justice Court precinct may have one or two Justices of the Peace to preside. These courts have original jurisdiction over Class C misdemeanor cases which include petty crimes. They can also handle minor civil disputes, resolve tort cases and contract disputes, deal with traffic violations, issues search or arrest warrants and may even double as the county coroner in some counties. Justice Courts are the small claims courts for TX.
Each incorporated city of TX also has a Municipal Court. Some of the larger cities have multiple Municipal Courts depending on caseload. Municipal Courts are limited jurisdiction courts with original and exclusive authority over city ordinance violations. Within the city limits, however, they have concurrent jurisdiction with Justice Courts over Class C misdemeanors and petty crimes with small fines. These courts can charge penalties of up to $2,000 related to zoning, public health, fire safety, and sanitation issues. Judges in Municipal Courts may also issue arrest and search warrants.