Typically, the district court handles criminal cases and felonies, while the county court handles everything else (like misdemeanors, traffic offenses, etc.).
However, the size of a county makes a difference. In small counties, both courts hear a wide variety of different matters. In larger counties like Tarrant County and Dallas County, the court system is divided into lots of “sub sections,” where each court (and the residing judges) hear certain kinds of cases.
The same laws and rules apply in county and district courts. Other differences include how quickly you can get to trial, the number of jurors who will see your case, and the amount of money you’re allowed to seek.
Do I Go Through the County Court or the District Court?
As you’ll see in the examples below, each county runs its courts a bit differently. Which one is the right one for you will depend on where you live, how much money you’re seeking, the nature of your claim and how quickly you want to get to trial.
An Example: Tarrant County Court System
Because Tarrant County is so large, there needs to be more than just one district court and one county court. So instead, Tarrant County has three county courts and 10 district courts.
As is typical, the county courts handle non-criminal cases and disputes under $100,000. So if you’ve been in a car accident in Fort Worth and have a dispute with the other driver, you’ll likely go to the county court. Typically, you’ll get a quicker trial if you go through the county court. The jury consists of six (not 12) jury members.
Alternatively, the district court handles claims worth more than $100,000 and consists of a full 12 jury members. It takes longer to get a trial in district court because more cases are filed at this level.
An Example: Dallas County Court System
In Dallas County, the county and district courts have what is called “concurrent jurisdiction.” That means that there’s no difference between how much money you’re allowed to seek (and therefore no $100,000 limit). The only difference between the two courts in Dallas County is the number of jury members and how quickly you can get to trial.
If you have any questions regarding the court systems or a legal claim in general, please contact the Anderson Injury Lawyers. We’re happy to help answer your questions and point you in the right direction.