Where do I file my small claims court case?
You should file your action in the County and specific Precinct where the defendants reside or where the defendant has contracted to perform. (Government Code Section 28.011).
Can I appeal my case?
Yes, but only if the amount in controversy is in excess of $250.
What is the trial like?
The trial is relatively informal compared to a normal trial. There are no rules of evidence. Furthermore, the judge is allowed and often ask questions of witnesses and parties to help understand the facts of a case. It will likely be pretty quick. If a jury trial is required, the trial could last a few hours.
Who is the judge in a Small Claims Court case?
The justice of the peace for Bell County presides over small claims court actions for Bell County.
Can I file my case in small claims court?
A plaintiff cannot demand more than $10,000 in their action. (Texas Government Code 28.093). Small claims parties can only recover money. The court has no authority to issue an injunctive or equitable award. For example, you could sue a dry cleaner for ruining your clothes and ask for money to replace the clothes, but you cannot ask the judge for an order for the dry cleaner to repair your clothes. You could only ask the court for an award of money.
Types of Small Claims Cases
Most cases for the recovery of money can be heard in small claims court. Cases include damages from an automobile accident, a security deposit from a landlord, or breach of a contract. The only types of cases that are prohibited are an assignment of a claim (whereby you transfer your interest in a case for someone else to collect), a divorce, or a case filed by a collection agency or agents.
Do I need to hire an Attorney?
Small claims court litigants in Texas normally represent themselves without an attorney. This is largely because the amount at issue in the case is not large enough to justify the hiring of an attorney. You are not required to have an attorney, but you are allowed one. (Government Code 28.003). Small Claims Court cases for Bell are heard in 6 LOCATIONS throughout Bell County.
Clerk’s Role in Small Claims Court Actions
The clerk is often the first person small claims court litigants interact with in their case. The clerk is knowledgeable at all of the procedures and will be able to inform you of any specific local procedures for Bell County. We recommend calling the clerk’s office to ensure the courthouse is open. While the clerk can help you with procedural issues, the clerk is not able to give legal advice. They will direct you to an attorney if answering your question would require that.
Bell County Court Locations
The precinct map for Bell County can be found here.
Precinct 1 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Belton
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 88 Belton, TX 76513
Precinct 2 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Salado
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 415 Salado, TX 76571-0415
Precinct 3 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Temple
This courthouse is located at:205 E Central Ave Temple, TX 76501-4303
Precinct 3 Place 2 Courthouse in the City of Temple
This courthouse is located at:205 E Central Ave Temple, TX 76501
Precinct 4 Place 1 Courthouse in the City of Killeen
This courthouse is located at:301 Priest Dr Killeen, TX 76541
Precinct 4 Place 2 Courthouse in the City of Killeen
This courthouse is located at:P O Box 517 Killeen, TX 76540-0517