District Attorney


By: Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl

Type: General Entry

Published: December 1, 1994

Updated: July 6, 2019


The office of district attorney was first provided for in the Constitution of 1836. According to an 1840 law, the district attorney was to be appointed for a two-year term by the president of the Republic of Texas with the advice and consent of the Senate. The office was continued by the Constitution of 1845 and was made elective by law in 1850; the constitutions of 1866 and 1874 likewise continued the office. A constitutional amendment in 1954 extended the term of office to four years. The district attorney is primarily an attorney for the state in district court. He may represent state agencies when the attorney general does not, and he may assist in the enforcement of state agency regulations.

Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials (Austin: Texas Department of Community Affairs, 1988).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl, “District Attorney,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/district-attorney.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994
July 6, 2019