Texas’ District Courts are the general jurisdiction trial courts for the state. The Texas Legislature determines the geographic region for each District Court. However, they have a rule that at least one District Court must serve each county. In low populated areas, a single District Court can serve a few counties at once, whereas a larger area may have a few District Courts. Texas is split into eleven administrative, judicial regions. The Governor appoints one District Judge per region to be the presiding judge, and they serve a four-year term.
District Courts have original jurisdiction over felonies, divorce and other domestic relations cases, land title cases, election content cases and civil matters where the amount is $200 or more. These courts can also handle tort cases, civil lawsuits, probate/estate matters, juvenile cases, and hear administrative agency appeals. Most District Courts serve both civil and criminal issues. In densely populated areas District Courts may specialize in one particular area such as civil, criminal, family or juvenile cases.
Texas’ Judicial Branch website offers patrons of District Court many resources to help file their cases, get legal assistance, and navigate the court system. There is a section for all types of forms to file cases in the Texas courts. Additionally, they offer an e-filing option and rules of the court. They have dozens of publications and training programs for professionals and the general public. They even provide special courts and programs to help veterans, juvenile delinquents, people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, and families in crisis.
During the last year tallied, District Courts saw 931,669 new filings. Almost 40% of those cases involved family issues, 31% was for criminal matters, 21% was for civil actions, 7% was for civil actions related to criminal matters and only 2% was for juvenile issues.