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Texas Court Systems Legal Resources

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Here are annotated links to information about the criminal court systems of Texas, from the municipal courts to the Court of Criminal Appeals. The Texas Supreme Court does not hear criminal cases.

Texas Courts Online

Texas Courts Online is a helpful online resource describing the relationships among courts in Texas, from muncipal courts through the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The site includes a chart showing the court heirarchy, ranges of authority and paths for appealing court decisions.

Court of Criminal Appeals

The Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest court for criminal cases. The judges are elected to six-year terms. This web site describes their operating procedures and has an archive of opinions.

Texas Supreme Court

The Texas Supreme Court is the highest court for civil matters and does not hear criminal matters.

District Courts

District courts have original jurisdiction in all felony criminal cases, plus civil matters. In the more densely populated counties individual courts often specialize in criminal, civil, juvenile or family law. This web site includes a link to help find the district courts for each county in Texas.

County Courts

Each Texas county has a single county court presided over by a county judge. The county courts have original jurisdiction over all Class A and Class B misdemeanor criminal cases. Unless otherwise established by county law, these courts have appellate jurisdiction in cases appealed from justice of the peace and municipal courts. In counties with large populations, statutory county courts assist the county court in their judicial functions, as established by state law.

Justice of the Peace Courts

Justice of the Peace Courts have original jurisdiction in Class C misdemeanor criminal cases. A justice of the peace has the authority to issue search warrants and arrest warrants. A Justice of the Peace can also be the coroner in counties with no medical examiner.

Municipal Courts

Municipal Courts have original jurisdiction concurrently with Justice of the Peace courts over Class C misdemeanor criminal cases where punishment is by small fine only.

Texas Judicial System Directory

You can use this directory to find courts and court personnel at any level in the State of Texas.