What is a District Attorney?
The district attorney analyzes and gathers evidence to determine if there are grounds for criminal prosecution of cases within their districts and presents cases at trial.
What Does a District Attorney Do in Texas?
A district attorney in Texas has the following duties:
- Represents the state in prosecuting felony criminal cases
- Works with law enforcement officers in the investigation of criminal cases
- Presents cases to the grand jury
- Represents victims of violence in protective orders and represents the state in removing children from abusive households
For more complete information about the responsibilities of a district attorney and other county officials, see the "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.
District 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.
District Attorney Qualifications4
The District Attorney must meet the following qualifications at the time of appointment or election:
- U.S. Citizen
- Resident of Texas for at least 12 months
- Resident of the district for at least six months
- Registered to vote in the district
- 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