Do you know what services your City court provides?
The City of Victoria Municipal Court has jurisdiction over Class C misdemeanor cases, which include traffic violations and similar minor offenses. However, residents who know us as the place to pay your speeding tickets might not be aware of some of the other things we handle—and others ask us for help with things that should really be addressed by someone else.
As an example, Victoria County Animal Services (not the court) is in charge of responding to and correcting animal-related issues. However, the Municipal Court works with Animal Services on some aspects of these cases, and it can be helpful for residents to understand those processes when making a report.
Nuisance animals: If a dog is running loose or digging holes on your property, you’ll want to get in touch with Victoria County Animal Services so they can pick the dog up or contact the owner. You can also choose to file a complaint with the Municipal Court, which can be used in any legal proceedings against the owner (these cases are within the court’s jurisdiction and are punishable by fine).
Aggressive animals: If you’re reporting an aggressive animal to Victoria County Animal Services, you can also come to the court to file an affidavit that can be used as legal evidence. Regardless of who receives the initial report—us, Animal Services or the Victoria Police Department—we share that information with each other so that every department has a complete picture of your case.
Animal cruelty: This is one area where you should not make a complaint with us. Animal cruelty is a felony, and these cases should be reported to the Victoria Police Department so they can be prosecuted by the district attorney. That being said, once a case has been filed, our court will hold a civil hearing to determine whether to confiscate the animal.
Here are some other common requests that get brought to us by mistake:
- Marriage and divorce licenses: You can’t have a courthouse wedding in any old courthouse. Marriage and divorce licenses can be obtained at the Victoria County courthouse, 115 N. Bridge St. (specifically, the county clerk’s office).
- Vehicle registrations and disabled parking placards: These requests are handled by the Victoria County Tax Office, 205 N. Bridge St. (the big brown building next to the courthouse).
- Jury duty: Our court occasionally does jury trials, but most local jury trials are conducted by the county. If you’re responding to a jury summons, you most likely need to go to the county courthouse.
Now for some things the court does that you might not know about:
- Car seat inspections: Are your kids buckled up properly? The Municipal Court coordinates the City’s car seat inspection program, where our certified child passenger safety technicians can help you determine what kind of seat you need and how to install it. Our next inspection event will be 4-6 p.m. April 12 at the Victoria Housing Authority offices, 4001 Halsey St.; to sign up, visit www.victoriatx.gov/carseat.
- Educational outreach: The court partners with local schools and community organizations to host mock trials, impaired driving simulations and other educational activities. If you’d like to host an event with us, visit www.victoriatx.gov/outreach.
Tiffany Totah is the City of Victoria Municipal Court administrator.