Everyone has heard of prosecutors. They are the attorneys who work for the state to take criminals off the streets. While most people have an idea of what prosecutors who work for the district attorney’s office do, fewer people probably know about the duties of municipal prosecutors.
What to know about municipal prosecutors
A municipal prosecutor is similar to state prosecutors in that they both represent the state of Texas in criminal matters. While state prosecutors work for a county DA’s office, municipal prosecutors work for a municipal entity such as a city. They prosecute all offenses in the jurisdiction of the municipal court, including class C criminal cases.
Some of the most common offenses that municipal attorneys can prosecute include:
- Ordinance violations
- Code infractions
- Traffic violations
- Property maintenance violations
- Land use and zoning violations
- Disorderly conduct or public intoxication
While city attorneys have a duty to prosecute, county attorneys do not. If a city has a municipal court, then it must have an attorney with the authority to prosecute municipal offenses. In some instances, a municipal attorney can authorize a private attorney to prosecute a complaint.
An important piece of the justice system
Generally, the municipal prosecutor oversees all aspects of a case, from doing discovery to conducting pre-trial negotiations or appearing in court before a judge. They frequently collaborate with attorneys from other municipalities, especially if an offender’s actions took place in more than one city. In some cases, they work with the DA’s office if a municipal violation coincides with a state-level crime. Their goal overall is to enforce municipal codes so that residence can enjoy safe, fair, efficient cities.