Each county has justice courts that are presided over by a justice of the peace, who is elected for a four year term. The justice court duties include civil lawsuits where the amount in dispute is $10,000 or less, landlord and tenant controversies, small claims cases and the full range of civil and criminal traffic offenses, including DUIs. Justices of the peace also resolve other types of misdemeanor allegations (e.g. shoplifting, writing bad checks, violating restraining orders) and, like other trial judges, also handle requests for orders of protection and injunctions against harassment. Justices of the peace also hear every type of civil and criminal traffic violation.
The number of justice courts in a county depends on its population. For example, there are four justice courts in Apache County.