About the Texas Court System

Texas has a multi-layered and complex court system with some overlapping jurisdictions and is one of only two states (Oklahoma is the other) with a bifurcated appellate system at the highest level.

The Judiciary of Texas consists of the following courts:

Justice of the Peace Courts — these courts hear Class C misdemeanor as well as civil cases where the amount in dispute is under $10,000. There are 819 Justice of the Peace courts in Texas.

Municipal Courts — adjudicates crimes relating to public safety and quality of life, misconduct committed by minors and violations of city ordinances. Most cases deal with traffic violations with fines up to $500. There are 926 municipal courts in Texas.

County Courts — has exclusive jurisdiction over Class A and Class B misdemeanor criminal cases (offenses involving jail time), concurrent jurisdiction over civil matters where the amount in dispute is moderate, and appellate jurisdiction over justice of the peace and municipal courts. There are 509 county courts in Texas

District Courts — has exclusive jurisdiction over felony cases, land title cases and election contest cases. District courts share jurisdiction with county courts, and sometimes justice of the peace courts, over civil matters. In fact, 75% of district court cases are civil cases. In some counties, district courts also handle family law and probate matters. There are 456 district courts in Texas.

Courts of Appeal — there are 14 Courts of Appeal in Texas with intermediate appellate jurisdiction over both criminal and civil cases.

Texas Supreme Court — handles final appeals for civil matters and juvenile criminal cases, unless those criminal cases involving minors calls for interpretation of the Texas Penal Code. In such instances, the case is referred to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals — hears final appeals for criminal matters. Death penalty cases are automatically referred to this court without an intermediate appellate hearing.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a full service criminal litigation and appellate law firm. We provide client-focused representation at all stages of the process, whether our clients are seeking to avoid charges, have been charged, or are seeking reversal of a conviction on appeal. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or dan@cogdell-law.com.