Justice of the Peace, Precinct 2
, Assoc. Court Administrator
, J.P. Clerk
Representing Yourself in Court
Below are several sources of information for persons who do not have a lawyer.
The information is not legal advice and does not take the place of an attorney.
Justice Court is a judicial forum to hear and decide civil cases
involving claims in the amounts of $10,000.00 or less. The
person filing the suit is known as the Plaintiff. The person
being sued is called the Defendant. The Plaintiff will fill out
a sworn petition and pay a filing fee and service fee called the
"court costs" when filing the case. The Plaintiff will need to
provide the correct name of the Defendant, he/she is filing
against, a physical address where the Defendant can be served
their petition and citation, the amount of money filed for, and
the reason for the suit. The Plaintiff will also have to
determine which case type to file.
The filing fee in a Civil suit is $51.00 and for
Evictions, filing fee is $46.00 The service fee
is $70.00 in a Civil suit for serving one
defendant in Jefferson County, each additional
Defendant will be $70.00 more to serve.(If they
live in another county, the service fee could be
different.) In an Eviction suit, the service fee
is $75.00 for each defendant.
The clerk prepares a Citation and sends it to the proper
Constable for service. It takes about 6-8 weeks to serve the
defendant, (sometimes a little longer, if it is going to an out
of county constable). As soon as the Constable returns the
citation to the court, the clerk will call the Plaintiff and
inform them of the court date. Prior to the Court notifying you,
it is your responsibility to keep in touch with the court
regarding your case (you should provide a case number or the
names of the parties as filed-called the "Style" of the Case.
Answer dates are generally on Mondays and Thursday
at 10:00 A.M. The defendant’s citation has the
information to let him/her know when and where
he/she is to appear in Court or where to file an
answer in the suit.
If the Defendant chooses not to appear, a Default Judgment may
be granted against them. If Judgment is found for the Plaintiff,
the Judgment will include the Court Costs paid to file the case.
Please do not include the amount of costs in the amount you are
In the State of Texas, there is no guarantee that you will
collect the Judgment from your Defendant.
If the Defendant has not satisfied the Judgment with the
Plaintiff, the Plaintiff may file for an 'Abstract of Judgment'
21 days after Judgment, at the cost of $5.00 payable to the
court, which puts a lien against any real property (such as
their house or any land the Defendant may own) for 10 years and
is renewable every 10 years. The Plaintiff will file the
Abstract of Judgment with the County Clerk's office. You should
call the County Clerk's office for the filing fee. This abstract
may be filed in as many counties as the Defendant owns property
in. Once the Judgment has been satisfied, the Plaintiff should
remove the Abstract by filing a 'Release of Judgment' with the
County Clerks office.
Alternatives To Payment of Fines and Cost
A defendant who is convicted of a criminal offense punishable by fine only is entitled to
alternative methods of satisfying the judgment against them if they are unable to pay the fine or costs, in whole or in part.
Those alternative methods include:
A payment plan, allowing the defendant to make payments toward
the fine and costs in designated intervals. Note that if any amount
is paid more than 30 days after the judgment assessing the fine or
costs then a $25 time payment fee must be assessed.
Disposition of the amount assessed by performing community service.
There are many options that meet the requirements of the law for community
service, see Art. 45.049 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for full details.
A defendant is entitled to a minimum of $100 credit for every 8 hours of
community service performed.
If performing community service imposes an undue hardship, a defendant who
is indigent or who lacks sufficient resources to pay may be entitled to a
waiver of the fine and costs, in whole or in part.