Per the authority given to the Texas Legislature, they have created Municipal Courts in every incorporated city in the state. Some large cities have multiple Municipal Courts. The number of courts per city depends on population and need.
Texas’ Municipal Courts are limited jurisdiction courts for the state and have exclusive jurisdiction over city ordinance violations. For crimes committed within city limits, Municipal Courts have concurrent jurisdiction with Justice of the Peace Courts on Class C misdemeanors and petty crimes with small fines. Municipal Courts can issue fines of up to $2,000 for issues that deal with zoning, fire safety, public health, or sanitation. Many of the cases in Municipal Courts are traffic violations and status offenses. Municipal Court judges may also issue search and arrest warrants. Typically, Municipal Courts don’t handle civil issues, but when cases involve dangerous dogs, they can take on those matters.
Most cases resolved by Municipal Courts are traffic cases and will be self-represented. Therefore, the Texas Judicial Branch website will be beneficial to those litigants by supplying them with forms to file, an e-filing option to pay their tickets and fines online, and rules of the court. Additionally, if their case involves drugs or alcohol, Texas offers specialized court programs to help with rehabilitation and habitual offenders who struggle with addictions. Additionally, they have other special services for veterans and juvenile delinquents. All filing fees and court costs are listed on the site along with judge’s biographies and contact information for most courthouses, court clerks and administrators. These courts also offer ADA accommodations and language assistance.
On average Municipal Courts see about 5.2 million new cases per year. Seventy-two percent of those cases are for traffic violations. Sixteen percent are civil actions, and 12% are non-traffic-related cases.