Texas state court system
Understanding how the system of Texas state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.
Texas Courts Overview
To make your work easier, start searching for court records in Texas by simply going to courts by county.
The trial court system of Texas State consists of Municipal Courts, Justice Courts, Statutory Probate Courts, County Courts at Law, Constitutional County Courts, Criminal District Court, and District Courts.
Texas District Courts have general jurisdiction to handle all types of cases, but generally handle only those cases that other courts have no jurisdiction over.
A District Court serving an area with a densely populated area usually specialize in some types of cases including criminal, civil, family or juvenile.
Civil cases generally heard by these courts include election disputes, defamation, slander, title to land, and other types of civil cases.
The specific types of the civil cases that these courts handle include personal injury, habeas corpus, guardianships, mental health cases, trusts, wills, probate matters, children in need of supervision, juvenile delinquency, protection orders, voluntary legitimation, judicial consent for minors, child protection cases, termination of parental rights, name change, adoption, annulment, divorce, contracts, eminent domain and condemnation, tax disputes, workers compensation wrongful death or property damage, personal injury, and motor vehicle related cases including personal injury.
Criminal District Court
Criminal District Courts specialize in handling criminal cases. The criminal cases handled by these courts may be the same as those that are handled by the County Courts of Law. They include trials for many misdemeanors and preliminary hearings of all criminal cases.
Out of the 13 Texas courts named Criminal District Court, Only the Criminal District Court located in Jefferson County is the only Criminal District Court that has its jurisdiction limited to divorce, criminal, adoption, delinquent and dependent children, criminal and habeas corpus proceedings by the Texas Legislature. The remaining Criminal District Courts in Texas mostly give preference to the criminal cases.
Constitutional County Courts
These courts have original jurisdiction to handle probate matters in most counties. However, contested probate matters may sometimes be transferred to the District Court.
Criminal cases generally handle by these courts include misdemeanors with potential punishment of less than one year jail term or a fine of up to $500. Justice Courts share jurisdiction with Constitutional County Courts located in most counties over civil cases with not less than $200 and not more than $10,000 in dispute. Civil Constitutional County Courts may also handle juvenile cases in most Counties. They may also share jurisdiction with District Courts, Justice Courts, and other County Courts over some types of cases.
These courts can also handle sexual assault or domestic violence protective orders. They also handle some administrative duties through County Commissioners Court for county government.
County Courts at Law
Also called County Criminal Courts at Law, County Criminal Courts, or Statutory County Courts, Texas County Courts at Law mostly specializes mainly in some types of criminal or civil cases.
Criminal cases generally heard by these courts include misdemeanors, such as jurisdiction over certain types of misdemeanors that don’t have any possible penalty on incarceration. They may also handle felonies and violations of safety or health ordinances.
General Civil cases these courts handle include cases involving workers compensation or eminent domain, and general civil claims with more than $500 and less than $10,000 in dispute. They may also handle trusts, wills, mental health proceedings, juvenile matters, child support, child custody, sexual assault or domestic violence protective orders, divorce, and guardianships.
County Courts of Law may also share jurisdiction with Statutory Probate Courts, Constitutional County Courts, and District Courts.
Statutory Probate Courts
These courts exist only in densely populated metropolitan areas, and they have jurisdiction to handle most probate matters. In most counties, these courts have original probate jurisdiction.
Typical cases Statutory Probate Courts handle include mental health proceedings, guardianships, administration of estates, the probate of wills, and certain types of civil cases connected to the administration of estates.
Texas Justice Courts
Texas Justice Courts, also known as “Justice of the Peace Courts”, have jurisdiction to handle some types of criminal and civil cases. Typical criminal cases heard by these courts include some traffic misdemeanors, preliminary hearings, and some misdemeanors without possible penalties of incarcerations.
General civil cases Justice Courts handle include small claims, foreclosures of mortgages, forcible entry and detainer, and general civil claims with particular financial limits. Justice Courts exist in every county.
These courts have jurisdiction to handle some types of criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases they handle include some misdemeanors, felony preliminary hearings, municipal ordinance violations, and some cases connected to forfeiture and final judgments of personal bonds or bail bonds.
Civil cases Municipal Courts handle are limited to certain cases that involve the ownership of dangerous dogs. A Municipal Court may be a court of record if it is created by local law and it may exercise extra jurisdiction over criminal matters, civil cases, and ordinance violations.
The Official Website of Texas County
Houston Welcome to the City of Houston eGovernment Center
San Antonio The City of San Antonio – Official City Website
Dallas Welcome to the City of Dallas, Texas The City of Dallas home page has information about employment, elected officials, online services and city departments for residents and visitors.
Austin AustinTexas.gov – The Official Website of the City of Austin
Fort Worth Welcome to the City of Fort Worth, Texas Ranked the 16th largest and one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., Fort Worth is home to more than 800,000 residents.
El Paso City of El Paso
Arlington City of Arlington
Corpus Christi City of Corpus Christi
Plano Plano, TX | Official Website The official home page for the City of Plano, Texas.
Laredo Laredo Welcome to the City of Laredo webpage. Laredo has many attractions and events to offer. Come and visit. Always a reason to celebrate in Laredo.
Irving Irving, TX – Official Website The City of Irving is an economic powerhouse in North Texas and is home to the region’s largest office park, where more than 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered or have a significant presence. Irving is the 13th largest city in the state with 237,000 residents and the most diverse ZIP code in the country. Irving is the second city in the nation and the first in the State of Texas to receive the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award (2012) as well as the first municipality in Texas’ history to receive the Texas Award for Performance Excellence (2011).
Garland Garland, TX | Official Website
Amarillo City of Amarillo, TX
Grand Prairie City of Grand Prairie
Brownsville Brownsville, TX | Official Website The City of Brownsville provides our customers efficient and quality municipal services with courtesy and concern.
Harris County Harris County | Texas
Dallas County Dallas County
Tarrant County Tarrant County
Bexar County Bexar County, TX – Official Website Bexar County Government website. Commissioners Court, Elected Officials, County Offices, Jury Duty Information, Election Information, Court Information, Community Information and Information for Veterans.
Travis County Travis County
El Paso County County of El Paso Texas
Collin County Collin County
Hidalgo County Hidalgo County, TX – Official Website Hidalgo County Home Page
Denton County Denton County – Denton County, Texas
Fort Bend County Fort Bend County, TX google-site-verification
Cameron County Welcome to Cameron County
Nueces County Nueces County, TX
Brazoria County Brazoria County, TX
Bell County Bell County, TX Bell County, TX
Lubbock County Lubbock County, Texas The official government website of Lubbock County, Texas.
Webb County Official Site of Webb County
McLennan County McLennan County, TX | Official Website
Brazos County Brazos County, TX – Official Website
Hays County Hays County
Johnson County Johnson County, TX
Ellis County Ellis County, TX Official Website
Ector County Ector County, Texas
Guadalupe County Guadalupe County Guadalupe County Texas, County Government, the county seat is located in Seguin Texas.
Taylor County Taylor County, TX – Official Website
Wichita County Wichita County, TX Online Home
Gregg County Gregg County
Grayson County Grayson County
Randall County Randall County, TX | Official Website
Parker County Parker County, TX – Official Website
Tom Green County Tom Green County
Comal County Comal County, Texas
Kaufman County Kaufman County
Victoria County Victoria County Official Victoria County Website