Last updated: November 5, 2013
Fort Worth boldly embraces its heritage as the gateway to the American West. The “City of Cowboys and Culture” boasts architecture marvels in the Kimbell Art Museum and the Tarrant County Courthouse, Texas Christian University and the largest indoor rodeo; it should be no surprise that Fort Worth is one of the fastest growing cities in the country.
The Texas court system is composed of layers based on the size of the civil action and severity of the crime. Trial-level courts are divided into two overlapping levels; the big-time District Courts and the small-time County Courts. Additionally, many cities have local Municipal Courts for traffic or ordinance violations. Fortunately, almost all the courthouses in Fort Worth are located within a few blocks of each other downtown. The Fort Worth court situation is confusing at best, so FindLaw has created this guide to some of the key courthouses in and around Fort Worth.
The architecturally acclaimed Tarrant County Courthouse houses the County Court for Tarrant County. County courts typically handle smaller civil lawsuits, including small claims cases up to $10,000 and misdemeanor criminal offenses. Inside the courthouse’s pink granite walls you’ll find a law library on the 3rd and 4th floor with tons of valuable resources. If you need to check on the status of your case, call (817) 884-1076 with your case number handy. There is an overpriced parking lot and meters nearby, but beware: the meters have a two-hour limit; try taking the train if you don’t mind a walk.
The Criminal Justice Center houses the District Courts, which are the big-time trial courts with jurisdiction over almost all lawsuits and felony criminal cases. The building is named after an ex-District Attorney who served Tarrant County for 36 years. Most of the cases heard here are criminal, but they also have eight courtrooms on the 7th and 8th floor for large civil actions. Parking is an expensive headache, so if you don’t mind a little walk, try riding the train into the ITC stop and hoofing it from there.
The Juvenile Justice Center handles cases where minors have committed criminal offenses. Rehabilitation, not punishment, is usually the goal at the Juvenile Justice Center, so you should ask the prosecutors about educational or support programs as an alternative to Juvenile Hall.
The Fort Worth Municipal Court handles violations of the city ordinance code, parking and traffic violations and school attendance problems for Fort Worth. Instead of driving to the courthouse to pay your ticket, try paying online or over the phone (800-225-5227) instead.
The Pantego Municipal Court handles parking, traffic, city ordinance violations, and minor misdemeanor cases for the town of Pantego. Pay your fines online through their website, or consider enrolling in a driver’s safety course.
The Grand Prairie Municipal Court handles parking, traffic, city ordinance violations, and minor misdemeanor cases for the city of Grand Prairie. Additionally, they handle juveniles who commit minor misdemeanors. Pay your fines online to avoid the hassle.
The Euless City Municipal Court handles parking, traffic, city ordinance violations, and minor misdemeanor cases for the city of Euless. They also operate the teen court for juveniles charged with minor misdemeanors. You can pay your ticket online through their website.
The Colleyville Municipal Court handles parking, traffic, city ordinance violations, and minor misdemeanor cases for the city of Colleyville. They also run Metroport Teen Court for the cities of Colleyville, Keller, Southlake and Grapevine for juveniles charged with minor misdemeanors. Unfortunately, you cannot pay your ticket online, you must visit the court in person.
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas handles federal cases at the trial level. They are headquartered in Dallas but have branches in Fort Worth, Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, San Angelo and Wichita Falls. Texas falls within the federal Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, which is headquartered in New Orleans and has jurisdiction over federal matters arising in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.