Q1: I have misplaced my jury summons. What do I do?

    Call Jury Services at 214 653-6233 (George Allen Courts Bldg.) or 214 653-3595 (Frank Crowley Courts Bldg.). This number is answered 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. Because of the large number of calls and budgetary constraints, you may have to let the phone ring for a long time.
    Another method is to E-mail Jury Services. For this purpose you can use the Postponement website. Include all the required information. You must also include your driver's license number and/or your voter registration certificate number. If you don't know the date, leave at the default value. If you don't know the courthouse just choose one. Use 9999 as a juror number if you don't know the actual one. As the message, explain that you have lost the jury summons and need to have a new date set.

Q2: I have received a jury summons. I want to serve but I cannot serve on the date on the summons. What can I do to change the date?

    Use the Jury Service Postponement request form.

Q3: I just received another jury summons. I served last month. Do I have to serve again this soon?

It depends.
    There are a number of different court systems in Dallas county. The Federal Courts have a jury system. The State and Dallas County have a combined system. Each city has its own municipal court and jury system. Service in one of the systems does not affect service in another.
    But if you get two summons from Dallas County within a couple of months, it is most likely a mistake. (Jurors are selected from drivers' license registrations and from voter registrations. If the names on these two are different, the system may not be able to determine that it is the same person. One way to prevent your name from appearing on the jury wheel multiple times is to include your driver's license number on your voter registration record.) Call Jury Services at 214 653-6233 (George Allen Courts Bldg.) or 214 653-3595 (Frank Crowley Courts Bldg.) to resolve the problem.

Q4: When is the Courthouse open?

    Monday - Friday except for county holidays as set by the Commissioner's Court. See calendar for official county holidays.
    Most departments are open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
    Some of the offices close to the public at 4:00 pm or 4:30 pm so that the employees can complete necessary paper work. Court clerks offices are open to the public from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. The Tax offices close the public counter service at 4:00 p.m. at all of its locations. However, the Oak Cliff (408 Beckley) and North Dallas (10056 Marsh Ln ) branch offices remain open for public counter service on Thursday evenings until 7:00 p.m.
    Check other departments for their specific hours.
    If you have been selected and seated as a juror, the judge will tell you when to arrive and when you will be released for each day of the trial.

Q5: Where is the "small claims" court?

    In Texas the "small claims" courts are run by the Justices of the Peace. Check out Judge Cercone's website for some of the forms to be used for "small claims" courts. Here is a list of the addresses and phone numbers for the J.P. courts.

Q6: How do I get a marriage license?

    The County Clerk issues marriage licenses. The office is on the 1st Floor of the Records Bldg, 509 Main Street, Suite 120 (8:00am-4:00pm, Monday through Friday) Call (214) 653-7559 or (214) 653-7131. You can apply in East Dallas at the East Dallas Government Center, 3443 St. Francis Ave. (call for office hours) 214-321-3182. You can also apply at the North Dallas Government Center, 10056 Marsh Lane, Suite 137, Dallas (call for office hours) 214-904-3032. Justice of the Peace, 7201 S. Polk, Dallas, (972) 228-0280 (Call for office hours); Justice of the Peace, 1411 W. Beltline Road, Richardson, (972) 231-1439 (Call for office hours).
    For information on eligibility, requirements etc.

Q7: What is the fee for ...?

    Civil District filing fees
    County Court at Law filing fees
    Family Court filing fees
    Probate Court filing Fees
    Fees for recording documents (Deeds, release of lien, Assumed Name, UCC, etc)

Q8: How do I get a copy of a court order?

    Go to the clerk of the court which issued the order. For a fee you can get a copy of any order in the file. If the case is old and the file is in storage it may take some time and expense to retrieve it.

Q9: I can't afford an attorney. Will the court appoint an attorney for me?

    It depends on whether it is a criminal or civil matter.
    If you are being prosecuted for a crime (not a traffic ticket) and cannot afford an attorney, ask the judge to appoint an attorney for you. This also applies to contempt matters where you may be sent to jail.
    If you are being sued or want to sue someone, you will usually have to hire your own attorney. Although a court will not appoint an attorney for you in a civil case, there are some services which will assist you in trying to find an attorney or that may provide some legal services based on need.
    The Dallas Bar Association provides a Lawyer Referral Service which may assist you in finding a lawyer. Call 214 220-7444 , Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. If you just want to talk to an attorney about a legal problem you might call LegalLine at (214) 220-7476 on 2nd & 3rd Wednesday 5:15 pm - 8:00 pm. The DBA also lists other resources in North Texas which will assist the poor or other individuals in various legal matters.

Q10: I got a traffic ticket. Where do I go to pay it or to contest it?

    You may be able to pay it on line with a credit card.
    If the ticket was issued in Dallas County by a Deputy Sheriff or by a Constable it can be paid online or you can go to the Justice of the Peace indicated on the ticket to pay or contest it.
    Most traffic tickets are issued by the city police. Those tickets must be handled through the cities and their municipal court systems. Some cities allow payment on line and some do not. Here is a list of websites for some of the municipal courts in Dallas County:
    Addison Municipal Courts
    Carrollton Municipal Courts
    Cedar Hill Municipal Courts
    Dallas Municipal Courts
    DeSoto Municipal Courts
    Duncanville Municipal Courts
    Farmers Branch Municipal Courts
    Garland Municipal Courts
    Irving Municipal Courts
    Mesquite Municipal Courts

Q11: I need to find information or a document - an old deed, Assumed Name, old lawsuit, probate of a will, conviction of a friend , etc.. Where are they?

    The County Clerk is the recorder of documents such as deeds, wills, assumed names, etc. Many of these records are on the 2nd floor of the Records Building (509 Main Street Dallas, Texas 75202). They may also be accessible by computer in the George Allen Courts Bldg.
    Criminal records are kept in the Frank Crowley Courts Bldg. (133 N. Industrial Blvd. Dallas, Texas 75207). These may be accessed by computer at that building.
    If you cannot make it to the court buildings in downtown Dallas there are some websites which contain some of this data. Dallas County provides a "service" for searching and viewing records in the following categories:
Probate, Criminal background, Civil attorney list, civil court, marriage information, UCC/Personal property, and Assumed Names.
    There are other fee-based companies such as PublicData.com and DVM.ORG which provide access to criminal records, driver's license info, etc. for an annual fee.
{The webmaster does not vouch for any of these fee services. You are on your own.}

Q12: I am a teacher and want to bring my class to see a trial. Who do I contact?

    Most of the judges welcome well-mannered classes to observe trials. Call the coordinator for any court to see what cases the Court may be hearing on a given day. Civil cases are heard in the Allen Courts Bldg. and the Records Bldg.; criminal in the Frank Crowley : juvenile in the Wade Center. You can get necessary phone numbers and learn more about the judge and court personnel by viewing the court pages

Q13: I would like to work for Dallas County. Where is the personnel department?

    Try Human Resources

Q14: I want to find out who owns a piece of property and how much it is worth.

    Try the Dallas Central Appraisal District website

Q15: I am trying to track down information on my ancestors. Where do I go?

    The Dallas Public Library (1515 Young Street Dallas, Texas 75201) has an excellent genealogy department. You might also try the Dallas Genealogy Society. Probate records, deeds, etc may be available on the 2nd floor of the Records Building (509 Main Street Dallas, Texas) or through the Dallas County fee-based online search system.
    For website research consider the USGenWeb project. It is done by volunteers and so it is a little spotty, but its free and a tremendous resource. For a fee-based website look at Ancestry.com. Also try its free affiliate, RootsWeb.com.
    Of course the source-of-all-sources is the LDS. The Salt Lake City Library has more data than you will ever be able to examine. If you cannot make it to Salt Lake City you can have them send microfilm and microfiche to the Family History Centers in Dallas or some 3400 other locations worldwide. First you may want to search their Library Catalogue to locate relevant film/fiche.

Q16: I was born in Dallas county and need a legal birth certificate. Where do I go?

    There are two sources for birth certificates in Texas: the Local Registrar and the Texas Department of Health. In Dallas county there two Local Registrars.
If you were born within the city limits of the City of Dallas try:
          City of Dallas
          Local Registrar
          1500 Marilla Street 1FN
          Dallas, Texas 75201
          Phone 214 670-3832 or Fax 214 670-0880
If you were born in Dallas county but outside of the City of Dallas try:
          County Clerk
          500 Main Street
          Dallas, Texas 75202
          Phone 214 953-7099 or Fax 214 653-7176.
    For detailed information and forms check out the website for Texas Birth and Death Records of the Texas Department of Health.
    If you are adopted and trying to find your original birth records, they are most likely sealed. For some help in addressing this issue consult the Central Adoption Registry's voluntary mutual-consent system at the Texas Department of Health.

Copyrightę(1997-2004) Michael J. O'Neill