Justices of the Peace

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justice signThe Justice of the Peace is the legal jurisdiction closest to the average citizen.

The Texas constitution provides that the justice of the peace courts have original jurisdiction in criminal matters of Class 'C' Misdemeanor cases punishable by fine only, and civil matters involving not more than $10,000.

UPDATE JUNE 30, 2020: Smith County is suspending jury duty through September 1 to follow guidelines announced by the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Judicial Branch - Office of Court Administration.


  • Each Justice of the Peace is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays,
  • Performs inquest regardless of location or time,
  • The Justice of the Peace presides over jury trial both civil and criminal,
  • Holds civil, criminal and traffic trials,
  • Completes death certificates,
  • Signs search warrants,
  • Signs warrants for Class A, Class B, and Class C Misdemeanors,
  • Holds truancy court,
  • Reads juvenile warnings,
  • Reads magistrate warnings,
  • Oversees all traffic citations,
  • Oversees all other complaints pertaining to parks and wildlife, health department, Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, and trash/upper river authority,
  • Approves and submits, all reports to auditor and state agencies, and
  • Performs all duties of the magistrate.

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