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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - The types of Criminal Courts in Texas court date instructions.

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law.


In the state of Texas, there are several types of criminal courts that have jurisdiction over different types of cases. Understanding the differences between these courts can be helpful if you have been charged with a crime in Texas.




Justice of the Peace Courts: These courts have jurisdiction over minor criminal cases, such as traffic violations and misdemeanors. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes that are punishable by up to one year in county jail. Justice of the Peace Courts also handle small claims cases and evictions.


County Courts at Law: There are both civil and criminal County Courts at Law in Texas. The criminal County Courts at Law have jurisdiction over misdemeanors, felonies, and juvenile cases. Felonies are more serious crimes that can be punishable by up to life in prison. Some common misdemeanor crimes in Houston, Texas include:

  1. Driving while intoxicated (DWI): DWI is a criminal offense that occurs when a person operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

  2. Theft: Theft is the act of taking someone else's property without their permission and with the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently. It is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas if the value of the stolen property is less than $2,500.

  3. Simple assault: Simple assault is the act of intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, or threatening to cause bodily injury. It is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas.

  4. Criminal mischief: Criminal mischief is the act of intentionally or recklessly damaging someone else's property. It is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas if the value of the damaged property is less than $100.

District Courts: District Courts are the highest level of trial court in Texas and have jurisdiction over all criminal cases, including misdemeanors, felonies, and juvenile cases. They also have jurisdiction over civil cases involving amounts in dispute of more than $200,000.


If you have been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Harris County, Texas, you may be required to appear at the Harris County Criminal Courthouse for court proceedings. Here are some tips for traveling to the courthouse:

  1. Know the location: The Harris County Criminal Courthouse is located at 1201 Franklin Street, Houston, TX 77002. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the location beforehand and to plan your travel accordingly.

  2. Allow enough time: It is important to allow enough time to get to the courthouse, as you may encounter traffic or other delays. It is a good idea to arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled court appearance to give yourself plenty of time to park and go through security.

  3. Follow the dress code: The Harris County Criminal Courthouse has a dress code that requires all visitors to dress in a manner that is respectful to the court. This means no shorts, tank tops, or clothing with offensive messages.

  4. Go through security: All visitors to the Harris County Criminal Courthouse are required to go through security. This includes passing through a metal detector and having your bags searched. It is a good idea to leave any unnecessary items, such as weapons or prohibited electronic devices, at home.

  5. Bring necessary documents: If you have been ordered to appear in court, be sure to bring any necessary documents, such as a court summons or a notice to appear. It is also a good idea to bring identification, such as a driver's license or passport.

If you are traveling to the Harris County Criminal Courthouse for a misdemeanor offense, it is important to follow these tips to ensure that your court appearance goes smoothly. If you have any questions or concerns, it is a good idea to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney for advice.


For litigants who do not have counsel: Reading this blog post does not create an attorney client relationship. Call to set up a free consultation.


For the general public: This Blog/Web Site is for educational purposes only and it provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship created. Don't just read this as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney.


For attorneys: This Blog is informational and educational in nature and is not a substitute for Westlaw or other research and consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. As you know the law can change day to day based on recent case opinions. And unfortunately you shouldn't cite it in court as binding authority because it is not. Mention it to your friends, just seek real consultation if it’s something important.



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