DUTIES OF A JUSTICE OF THE PEACE
The Justice of the Peace Court is a constitutional office whose origins date back to
the early days of Texas statehood. Justice of the Peace courts have original jurisdiction
in Class C offenses. These courts also have jurisdiction of minor civil matters. A Justice
of the Peace may issue search or arrest warrants, and may serve as the coroner in counties
where there is no provision for a medical examiner. These courts also function as small
claims courts. The Justices are elected to a four-year term of office by the voters
residing in that precinct. Additionally, Justices of the Peace are required by law to
complete an 80-hour course covering the proper execution of that office's uties the first
time they serve. After that, they must complete twenty hours of relevant coursework per year.
The following is a partial list of the functions that these courts oversee:
- Determines probable cause, issues arrest warrants, issues both adult and juvenile
statutory warnings, and conducts bail examinations for arrested persons.
- Determinies whether there is reasonable probability of a judgment being rendered
against a person as a result of an accident while operating a motor vehicle without
- Conducts reviews for sufficiency and issuance of search warrants.
- Conducts magistrations (Miranda Rights) for both adult and juveniles.
- Issues emergency protective orders.
- Reviews applictions for emergency detention and issues mental health and chemical
- Conducts hearings concerning the disposition of stolen property.
- Conducts handgun license denial hearings.
- Conducts driver's license suspension hearings.
- Conducts death investigations and orders autopsies.
- As a local registrar of vital statistics, birth and death certificates are completed,
registered and recorded and sent to the State Bureau of Vital Statistics.
- Conducts towing hearings.
- Conducts refiew for sufficiency and issuance of warrants to seize cruelly treated
- Conducts hearings to determine disposition of animals.
- Conducts hearings to review dangerous dog determination.
- Serves as Ex Officio Notary Public of their counties.
- Performs marriage ceremonies.
- Handles and collects fees, fines and court costs.
- Manages bank deposits.
- Perpares report for auditor and treasurer.
- Supervises employees.
- Prepares correspondence to defendant and parties to litigation as required by
- Reviews and files citation issued and complaints filed by local law enforcement
agencies, including constable, Sheriff, Department of Public Safety, Texas
Parks and Wildlife, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, etc.
- Reviews request for driving safety courses, files complaints for failure to
appear and issues warrants, conducts show cause hearings, dismisses cases, or
- Reviews documents in connection with charges of no inurance, expired driver's
license, expired registration, and expired inspection.
- Undertakes efforts to satisfy judgments, issues capias pro fines, conducts
- Collects restitution.
- Handles failure to attend school offenses, disorderly conduct, minor in
possession, and other offenses against juveniles.
- Handles parent contributing to non-attendance of school cases.
- Files petitions instituting civil action within the jurisdiction of Justice
- Files petitions instituting proceedings to enforce deed restrictions.
- Files petitions instituting evictions from residential and commercial
- Files petitions instituting civil action within the jurisdiction of Small Claims
Court and Justice Court which have a maximum "amount of
controversy" of $10,000.00 exclusive of interest and court cost.
- Issues writs of possession, garnishment, attachment, sequestration and writs of
- Presides over suits involving the enforcement of a deed restriction for a