What is a Justice of the Peace?
The justice of the peace presides over the justice court in cases involving misdemeanors, small civil disputes, landlord/tenant disputes and more. They also conduct inquests and may perform marriage ceremonies.
What Does a Justice of the Peace Do in Texas?
A justice of the peace in Texas has the following duties:
- Hears traffic and other Class C misdemeanor cases punishable by fine only
- Hears civil cases with up to $20,000 in controversy
- Hears landlord and tenant disputes
- Hears truancy cases
- Performs magistrate duties
- Conducts inquests
For more complete information about the responsibilities of a justice of the peace and other county officials, see the "2018 Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials."
Please note: Some duties performed by officials may vary within individual counties.
Justice of the Peace Requirements
Justices of the peace are required to obtain 80 hours of continuing education during their first year in office and 20 hours annually thereafter.
See the full continuing education requirements and more.
County Justice of the Peace Qualifications10
A Justice of the Peace 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 precinct for at least six consecutive months
- Registered to vote in the precinct
- At least 18 years of age
- 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: Government Code, Section 27.005
10Vernon's Ann. Texas Const. Art. 5, §18; V.T.C.A., Election Code §141.001