Justice of the Peace
The Justice of the Peace is the legal jurisdiction closest to the average citizen. It is often referred to as "The People's Court". There are four of these judges in Midland County, each elected to a four year term. Their precincts follow the same lines as the county commissioners.
The Justice Courts adjudicate class C misdemeanor cases that are punishable by fine only, including traffic tickets, penal code offenses, hot checks and Parks and Wildlife violations. They also deal extensively with juvenile matters including informing juveniles of their rights before being questioned by a law enforcement officer, truancy (compulsory school attendance cases), alcohol and tobacco violations, and shoplifting.
The Midland County Justices of the Peace are the designated Magistrates for Midland County. Each day a Justice of the Peace reviews arrest affidavits and criminal complaints to determine if sufficient probable cause exists, informs defendants of their rights, sets bond and issues bond conditions on offenses when and where appropriate including Emergency Protective Orders in family violence cases.
Justices of the Peace also enforce certain county and state ordinances; including environmental violations, illegal dumping, illegal towing, and burn bans violations.
The Justice of the Peace also has jurisdiction in all civil cases in which the amount of controversy is $20,000 or less. These may include:
- Driver's license hearings.
- Enforcement of liens on personal property
- General small claim cases
- Landlord and tenant matters
- Matters concerning foreclosure of mortgages
- Suits on account (debt claim)
- Tort cases
Additionally, the Midland County Justices of the Peace serve as a coroner and conduct inquests because Midland County has no medical examiner.
The Midland County Justices of the Peace and the Clerks of the Midland County Justice Courts are not allowed to give legal advice. You are urged to review any applicable laws, Justice Court Civil Rules of Procedure and to consult an attorney of your choice for further information or answers to specific legal questions.