The most important duties of the justice of the peace (JP) are judicial, not law enforcement. The JP serves as the judge of the justice and small claims courts. JPs hear criminal misdemeanor cases, traffic cases, and license suspension hearings and truancy. They issue search, arrest warrants, arraign and set bonds. JPs perform marriage ceremonies.
Because Hays County does not have a Medical Examiner, JPs also perform inquests to determine the cause and circumstances of death and can request an autopsy when appropriate.