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Victoria Regional History Center

Regional History Resource Depository

County Court Offices
Justice of the Peace Courts
Justice of the peace courts are among the lowest level of the local trial courts in the Texas judicial system. Their jurisdiction is restricted to the least serious misdemeanor offenses and minor civil matters, including small claims. Justice of the peace officers also have the power to issue search or arrest warrants and they serve as the coroner in counties where there is no provision for a medical examiner.
County Courts
County courts generally have more authority than that of the justice of the peace courts but less than that of the state district courts; they have jurisdiction over appeals of cases from justice of the peace and municipal courts. The county clerk records a wide variety of documents for the county, including deeds, marriage licenses, and cattle brands. The main duties of the county clerk are to serve as clerk of the county court and the county commissioners' court, act as recorder of deeds and other instruments, issue marriage licenses, and take depositions. The clerk is also responsible for conducting countywide special and general elections and for handling absentee voting.
District Courts
The district court is the principal trial court in Texas, usually for both civil and criminal cases. It is the court of original jurisdiction in all family law matters and is the court of appeal in probate matters. Courts of original jurisdiction provide the first hearing on a specific case as opposed to appellate courts, which hear appeals of cases that were originally tried in other (lower level) courts.

For a diagram of the Texas court structure, see