Office Hours and Closures as of 3-24-2020
QUALIFICATIONS AND TERMS OF THE OFFICE
To run for the office of County Attorney you must have the following qualifications:
Be a U. S. Citizen
Be a Texas resident for 12 months and a district resident for 6 months
At least 18 years of age
Registered to vote
A licensed attorney
The term of office for the County Attorney is four years.
DUTIES OF A PROSECUTOR
The office of prosecutor is charged with responsibility for prosecutions in its jurisdiction.
The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, an advocate, and an officer of the court; the prosecutor must exercise sound discretion in the performance of his or her functions.
The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.
It is an important function of the prosecutor to seek to reform and improve the administration of criminal justice. When inadequacies or injustices in the substantive or procedural law come to the prosecutor’s attention, he or she should stimulate efforts for remedial action.
It is the duty of the prosecutor to know and be guided by the standards of professional conduct as defined by applicable professional traditions, ethical codes, and law in the prosecutor’s jurisdiction
American Bar Association—Criminal Justice Section
DUTIES OF THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY ATTORNEY
The County Attorney prosecutes the following cases:
All misdemeanor offenses: DWI 1st & 2nd, Theft under $2500, Assault with Bodily Injury, Driving While License Invalid, Criminal Trespass, Criminal Mischief under $2500, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Dangerous Drug, Evading Arrest, Resisting Arrest, Terroristic Threat
Juvenile Offense, both misdemeanor and felony (a person is considered a juvenile in the criminal justice system if they are 10 years or over but under 17 years of age
All Class C misdemeanor offense filed with the Justice of the Peace (traffic tickets)
All Child Protective Services cases
All Adult Protective Services cases
Collection of Hot Checks
The County Attorney also acts as an advisor to the Erath County Commissioner’s Court. The County Attorney attends commissioner court meetings, prepares and review contracts for the County and gives legal advice upon request.
STRUCTURE OF THE ERATH COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
The Erath County Attorney’s Office is made up of two prosecutors and two legal assistants. We have a budget of approximately $430,000.00. A detailed budget can be found at the Erath County website, co.erath.tx.us
The Erath County Attorney’s Office receives an average of 800 Class A & B adult misdemeanor criminal cases each year, 30 Child Protective Service cases, 30 juvenile cases (both felony and misdemeanor) and 50 applications of a protective order. We receive criminal cases from several different law enforcement agencies that operate within Erath County: Erath County Sheriff’s Office, Stephenville Police Department, Dublin Police Department, Tarleton State University Police Department, Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission and the Game Warden.
In an effort to reduce cost and have a more efficient office, we scan in or receive all cases in electronic format. We provide all documentation to opposing counsel through electronic means and file our cases with the Clerk electronically.
HOW TO FILE A CASE
The Erath County Attorney’s Office does not initiate most criminal cases on their own. All criminal cases except hot check cases, must go through a law enforcement agency. Criminal cases should be reported to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over that area, i.e. Stephenville Police Department if inside the Stephenville City Limits, Dublin Police Department if inside Dublin City Limits, Erath County Sheriff’s Office if outside city limits but inside Erath County and Tarleton State University Police Department if on the TSU Campus.
Hot Check Cases
Hot check cases are filed directly with the Erath County Attorney’s Office. There are certain requirements and procedures that must followed before we will accept a check for filing. You can obtain a packet that details those procedures from our office. Once we receive a check, we attempt to obtain restitution prior to filing a criminal case and issuing a warrant for the offenders arrest. If we are unable to obtain restitution in that manner then we procedure to file a criminal complaint and issue a warrant.