Fort Worth Municipal Court
Fort Worth Municipal Court General Information (Downtown)
The Fort Worth Municipal Court is part of the judicial branch of the City of Fort Worth and handles Class C misdemeanor criminal cases that occur within the city limits. The court plays an important role in upholding local laws and providing due process to residents.
In the heart of downtown Fort Worth, the Fort Worth Municipal Court serves as a crucial institution for the community, providing essential services related to legal matters and city citations. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about the Fort Worth Municipal Court, including its operating hours, procedures, and important updates. Whether you’ve received a citation or simply want to understand the court’s functioning, read on to get a clear picture.
History and Establishment
The Fort Worth Municipal Court was established in 1924 after the Texas Legislature granted home-rule cities the authority to create their own municipal courts. Fort Worth subsequently established its municipal court to handle minor criminal offenses and city ordinance violations.
The court operated out of city hall for many years until it moved to its current location at 1000 Throckmorton Street in 1989. The building was renovated in 2012. While the court has evolved over the decades, its primary mission remains providing fair, efficient, and impartial justice in Fort Worth.
The Fort Worth Municipal Court has jurisdiction over Class C misdemeanor criminal cases that occur within Fort Worth city limits. This includes crimes such as:
Types of Cases
- Theft under $100
- Assault resulting in minor injury
- Possession of small amounts of marijuana
- Public intoxication
- Traffic violations
- City ordinance violations
The court does not hear civil, felonies, or Class A & B misdemeanors. Those cases go to Tarrant County courts.
Walk-in Fort Worth Municipal Court Schedule
The walk-in court at Fort Worth Municipal Court operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It follows a first-come, first-served docket system, so be sure to arrive early. Sign-in starts at 8:00 a.m., and the court opens at 8:30 a.m. Please note that there is a limit to the number of people scheduled per docket. If the morning docket is full, you can either wait for the 1:30 p.m. docket or return on another day.
As of the latest update, masks are no longer required but remain optional for Courtrooms 1, 3, 4, 5, and jurors. However, in Courtroom 2, all individuals must continue wearing masks while court is in session. The Fort Worth Municipal Court will provide masks for use in the courtrooms.
Vivian J. Lincoln Library
The Vivian J. Lincoln Library, associated with the court, opens at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. It offers valuable resources and information to assist individuals with their legal matters.
Municipal Court Satellite Location
The Vivian J. Lincoln Court satellite location serves as a convenient hub for community members with City of Fort Worth issued citations. Here, you can access in-person counter services for payments, submit proofs, and request court settings.
The operating hours for the satellite location are as follows:
- Sunday-Monday: Closed
- Tuesday-Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (Closed for lunch daily from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
Virtual Court Judges Services
Starting August 1st, 2023, the Fort Worth Municipal Court introduces virtual court judge services on specific days:
- Tuesdays: 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Thursdays: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Downtown and Satellite Locations
Effective January 3, 2023, the Downtown location is at 1000 Throckmorton St., while the Satellite Court is located at 8829 McCart Ave., starting July 8, 2023.
Satellite court locations are also available for paying fines and fees. These include:
- Northwest Courthouse – 6400 Wichita Street
- Southwest Sub-Courthouse – 6551 Granbury Road
- Southeast Sub-Courthouse – 6613 Telephone Road
- Northside Service Center – 9551 Clifford Street
- Morning Open In-Person Court (Downtown and Satellite): Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
- Afternoon Open In-Person Court (Downtown and Satellite): Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Fort Worth Municipal Court Locations and Hours
The Fort Worth Municipal Court is based out of the Fort Worth Municipal Court Building located at 1000 Throckmorton Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102.
This is where most court proceedings take place. The court is typically open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm. Night court is held on Thursdays until 7:00pm.
Court Proceedings and Policies
There are some key policies and procedures to be aware of when attending Municipal Court:
Payment of Fines and Fees
Fines and court fees can be paid online, by mail, phone, or in person. Defendants unable to pay may request extensions, payment plans, community service, or jail credit.
Proper attire is required in the courtroom. This includes removing hats and sunglasses. Shorts and flip flops are discouraged.
Language interpreters are provided for those who do not speak English. The court also provides sign language interpreters.
Accommodations for disabilities are available per the Americans with Disabilities Act. Notify court staff beforehand to arrange accommodations.
Get in touch with the court using:
- Main Phone: 817-392-6700
- Warrants: 817-392-6714
- Traffic Violations: 817-392-7600
- Criminal Violations: 817-392-6730
For any inquiries or assistance, you can reach the Fort Worth Municipal Court through the following contact details:
- Fax: 817-392-6723 (fax)
- Location: A.D. Marshall Public Safety & Courts Building, 1000 Throckmorton Street, Fort Worth, 7610
Website and Online Services
- Website: fortworthtexas.gov/municipal-court
- Online payments, court date lookups, and more.
Notable Cases and Controversies
The Municipal Court has faced some criticism and legal challenges over the years. Key issues include:
Public Intoxication Policy Change
In 2006, the court stopped jailing public intoxication offenders after civil rights groups sued over the policy’s impact on the homeless.
Traffic Camera Disputes
Fort Worth shut down its red light camera program in 2014 amidst accusations that cameras were installed at intersections without enough accidents to justify them. There were also concerns about due process.
Impact on the Community
While carrying out its daily duties, the Municipal Court affects the local community in important ways:
Access to Justice
The court provides all Fort Worth residents access to a local judicial system to handle minor crimes, which helps instill confidence in justice.
Civic Engagement Opportunities
Serving as jurors on Municipal Court cases represents a valuable civic engagement opportunity for Fort Worth residents.
For almost a century, the Fort Worth Municipal Court has upheld local laws and provided residents with access to justice. The court has also faced occasional controversy while striving to adapt its policies to an evolving societal landscape. However, it continues working to adjudicate Class C misdemeanors in a fair and judicious manner. The court’s jurisdiction may be limited, but its impact on the community is wide-reaching.
Q1: Can I pay my citations online?
A: Yes, you can pay your citations online through the Fort Worth Municipal Court website.
Q2: What should I do if I cannot attend my court date?
A: Contact the court as soon as possible to reschedule or address the issue.
Q3: Are there interpreters available for non-English speakers?
A: Yes, interpreters are available for individuals who require language assistance.
Q4: How can I request my court records?
A: You can request court records by following the procedures outlined on the court’s website or by contacting them directly.
Q5: What forms of payment are accepted at the court?
A: The court accepts various forms of payment, including credit cards, checks, and cash.
What are the court’s hours?
The court is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm. Night court is Thursdays until 7pm.
What types of cases does the court handle?
It handles Class C misdemeanors like petty theft, minor assault, and traffic violations occurring within city limits.
Can I resolve my ticket online?
Yes, you can pay fines and fees online without appearing in court in many cases.
Is there a dress code?
Proper attire like removing hats is required. Shorts and flip flops are discouraged.
Do I need my own attorney?
While you can hire your own attorney, one is not required for minor cases. Consult the court for legal resources available.