Bell County Attorney's Office
Bell County has had a County Attorney since the early days of the 19th Century, and the responsibilities of that office have expanded greatly since that time.
The County Attorney oversees:
- Prosecution of adult major misdemeanor offenders, such as driving while intoxicated, domestic violence, motor vehicle burglary, and many animal abuse offenses. County law enforcement agencies file some 1,000 to 1,200 criminal cases each month with the County Attorney. These are not crimes that grab the headlines, but serious enough to adversely affect Bell Countians and their families. A misdemeanor can result in as much as one year's confinement in the County Jail and/or a fine up to $4,000.
- Prosecution of juvenile delinquents (i.e., under 17 years of age), mostly for felony offenses ranging from major theft to murder. Approximately 65-70 juvenile offenders are referred each month. A special effort is exerted to work with local police agencies to thwart juvenile gangs.
- Representation of the state's Child Protective Services agency when children are removed from the home by that agency because of abuse or neglect, and the court is required to oversee their well-being until an appropriate disposition is made. Sometimes this includes termination of parental rights. This is probably one of the most critical of the County Attorney's responsibilities since it involves immediate protection of defenseless children from abusive parents and sordid conditions.
- Collection of and prosecution for "hot checks." The Bell County Attorney's Office has earned a statewide reputation for its aggressiveness in tracking down hot check writers and gaining restitution for their victims. Each month thousands of dollars are returned to merchants.
- Researching and rendering opinions for county officials on legal questions relating to their duties. The County Attorney works closely with the Commissioners Court and all other County agencies in helping to see that county services are delivered in a legal and efficient manner. The office also helps out in the training of local law enforcement officers, such as legal updates after a state legislative session and domestic violence investigation.
- Conducting special investigations where required. In the past the County Attorney has investigated voter fraud, open meetings violations in municipalities, prostitution-related activities, and other unusual problems.