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District Courts
Overview
The chief trial courts in Texas are the District Courts, which had their origin in the Constitution of the Republic. Brazos County is today served exclusively by three District Courts: the 85th District Court created in 1917, the 272nd District Court created in 1979, and the 361st District Court created in 1985.

District Courts are courts of general jurisdiction, meaning if Texas law doesn’t specifically require that some other court hear your case, it is properly heard by the District Court. The District Courts in Brazos County hear both criminal and civil cases.

Criminal Cases
In criminal cases filed in Brazos County, the District Courts have original jurisdiction over felony cases and concurrent jurisdiction with the County Courts at Law over misdemeanor cases.

By local rule, the District Courts in Brazos County will hear all felony cases and any misdemeanor criminal cases that are associated or connected with a defendant charged with a felony case. By this process all criminal cases pending at the same time and related to one defendant will be tried by only one prosecutor’s office and in only one court.

Civil Cases
In civil cases, the Districts Court have jurisdiction to hear family law cases and any other civil cases where the amount in controversy exceeds $500, exclusive of interest. By local rule, Child Protective Services cases are filed only in the District Courts and juvenile cases are filed only into the 272nd District Court.

Term of Court
Under Texas law, each District Court holds two terms of court per calendar year that begin on the first Monday in January and July and continue until the beginning of the next succeeding term. During each term of court, each District Court may empanel a Grand Jury to review felony criminal cases and determine whether the District Attorney has sufficient evidence to allow each case to proceed to trial by returning an indictment.

The Texas Constitution also provides that District Courts have appellate jurisdiction and general supervisory control over the County Commissioners Court and Texas law places the responsibility upon the District Judges to appoint the County Auditor to accomplish those supervisory duties.

To exercise appellate jurisdiction over the Commissioners Court, a lawsuit must be filed in the District Court against the Commissioners Court.

District Judge Duties
View the duties District Judges perform for the public.