Justices of the Peace
Justices of the peace handle both civil and criminal cases, including small claims court, justice court, and administrative hearings. In practical terms, these are lawsuits over debts, evictions, car accidents, unlawful towing, and property.
Their criminal workload involves disposing of all class C criminal misdemeanor complaints, such as traffic citations, issuance of bad check, and others. These cases involve payment, setting contested cases for trial, and pretrial hearings with the county prosecutor.
Other duties include presiding over peace bond hearings, reviewing applications for mental health or chemically dependent commitments, conducting compulsory school attendance trials, giving warnings to juveniles required by law. They issue warrants for and conduct hearings concerning seizure and disposition of cruelly treated animals. Most JP's perform marriage ceremonies as well.