What is a County Attorney?
The county attorney represents the state in the justice of the peace and county courts, defends suits in which the county is interested, and serves as legal advisor to county and precinct officials. If the county has no district attorney, the county attorney also represents the state in district courts.
What Does a County Attorney Do in Texas?
A county attorney in Texas has the following duties:
- Represents the state in prosecuting misdemeanor criminal cases
- Works with law enforcement officers in the investigation of criminal cases
- Provides legal advice to the Commissioners Court and to other elected officials
- Brings civil enforcement actions on behalf of the state or county
For more complete information about the responsibilities of a county attorney and other county officials, see the “2018 Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials."
Note: Some counties do not have both a county attorney and a district attorney. These counties have either a criminal district attorney or a combination county and district attorney. In these counties, one office performs the functions of both the county attorney and the district attorney.
County Attorney Requirements
Attorneys are required to attain 15 hours every 12-month period, with that 12-month period being based on your birth month, 10 hours must be earned in a formal classroom setting and up to five hours may be earned in self-study. Three hours must be devoted to legal ethics/professional responsibility and one of the three hours may be earned in self-study.
See the full continuing education requirements and more.
County Attorney Qualifications3
The County Attorney must meet the following qualifications at the time of appointment or election:
- U.S. Citizen
- Resident of Texas for at least 12 consecutive months
- Resident of the county for at least six consecutive months
- Registered to vote in the county
- At least 18 years of age
- Practicing lawyer or judge
- Not have been finally convicted of a felony from which they have not been pardoned or otherwise released from the resulting disabilities
- Not have been determined by a court with probate jurisdiction to be totally mentally incapacitated or partially mentally incapacitated without the right to vote
Candidates for this office generally must meet the above qualifications at the time of filing.
For more information, see the Secretary of State Elections Division website.
Legal source: V.T.C.A., Tex. Gov’t. Code, Title 2, Subt. G, App. A, State Bar of Texas Rules, Art. 12, Sec. 6
Vernon’s Ann. Texas Const. Art. 5, §21; V.T.C.A., Election Code §141.001; Government Code §41.001