About Attorney General Opinions
As a matter of legal principle, courts are limited to deciding actual cases and controversies. This means that until an actual dispute arises which pits opposing parties against each other, the courts cannot provide guidance on interpreting statutes or regulations issued by the Legislature. However, certain officials are authorized by statute to request opinions on legal issues from the Attorney General.
An opinion issued by the Attorney General is an interpretation of current state law without regard to specific factual issues. Opinions are generally issued to clarify confusing or ambiguous statutes which have not been, or are unlikely to be, addressed by a court decision. Although courts do consider these opinions to be strongly persuasive, the opinions themselves are not binding upon the courts. This means that while an opinion provides strong support that the position adopted in the opinion is correct, a court may reach a different conclusion where specific facts lead to a contrary result.
For this reason, Attorney General opinion letters should be used cautiously and only as guidance in undefined or novel areas of legal interpretation. Once a court has issued a decision on a given matter, that judgment will generally be given deference over an Attorney General’s opinion on those matters specifically addressed in the court judgment. Depending upon which court issues the decision, other courts may be required to follow the court judgment even if it contradicts the AG opinion.
For more information about Attorney General opinions, the process for requesting an opinion, and an index of all opinions issued since 1939, visit https://www.oag.state.tx.us/opin/.
Judges' Authority to Restrict Bail: JM-0363
Jail Credit for Already Incarcerated Class C Misdemeanant: JC-0393
Private Fine Collection Service: JC-0516
No State Attorney at Trial: GA-0067
Juvenile Detention for Contempt: GA-0131
Bailiff Immunity: GA-0146
Payment of Fine Before Costs: GA-0147
Juvenile Racing Offenses: GA-0157
Inherent Power to Reschedule Prospective Jurors: GA-0161
Use of City Jail: GA-0166
Finance Director as Municipal Judge: GA-0199
Vendor Contracts: GA-0313
Time Filing of School Attendance Cases: GA-0417
School District Responsibilities: GA-0574
Authority to hear compliance applications and appeals of dangerous dog determinations: GA-0660