Tarrant County Justices of the Peace
Justices of the Peace (JPs) serve as trial court judge for three different kinds of civil lawsuits, as a trial court judge for Class C misdemeanors, and as an administrative court judge for a variety of miscellaneous court procedures. JPs are elected from precincts for four-year terms. Justices of the Peace also act as notaries public, hold inquests, and perform marriages.
JPs hear three different kinds of civil lawsuits.
(1) Evictions (up to a $10,000 limit)
(2) Justice Civil (up to a $10,000 limit)
(3) Small Claims (up to a $10,000 limit)
Eviction and Justice Civil cases are conducted according to the rules of civil procedure and evidence. Small Claims court (the people's court) cases are not bound by the rules of civil procedure or evidence (the judge gets to ask questions). Post judgment proceedings on all three different types of civil cases are the same, with the exception of the actual eviction process itself which has its own set of rules.
JP courts also adjudicate the class C misdemeanor criminal cases which are filed in their courts by the various state and county agencies which are authorized to write citations, i.e. DPS, Sheriff's Department, Constable's Office, Game Wardens, Cosmetology Commission, Health and Water Departments, Plumbing Board, School Attendance offices, etc. A JP's duties also include matters such as driver's license suspension hearings, deed restriction cases, and disposition of stolen property hearings.
A JP is also a magistrate and those duties include matters such as adult and juvenile magistrate's warnings (on all classes of criminal offenses), arraignments on class C misdemeanors, magistrate's emergency protective orders, and signing of probable cause warrants.
There are eight JP precincts in Tarrant County, the office is an elected one, and the term of office is four years. JPs do not have to be attorneys.
If you are interested in getting married by a Justice of the Peace, please contact the JP office in the area in which you live for information on how they handle marriages.