The information contained on this website is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney. If you have questions about your best course of action, what plea you should enter, your rights, or the consequence of a conviction of the offense for which you are charged, you should contact an attorney or visit www.texascourthelp.gov/. Neither the clerk, judge, nor prosecutor can give you legal advice.
Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The State must prove you guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" for the offense with which you are charged. Every criminal defendant has the right to remain silent and refuse to testify. You have the right to retain an attorney and have them try your case or answer your questions. Since offenses in this court are punishable only by fine and not by incarceration, you do not have the right to appointed council.
You have the right to a jury trial. You may waive a jury trial and have a trial before the judge, commonly called a Bench Trial. If you elect to represent yourself, no person other than an attorney can assist you during a trail.
At trial you may have rights including:
1) The right to have notice of the complaint not later than the day before any proceedings in the prosecution;
2) The right to inspect the complaint before trial, and have it read to you at the trial;
3) The right to hear al testimony introduced against you;
4) The right to cross-examine witnesses who testify against you;
5) The right to testify on your own behalf;
6) The right not to testify (Your refusal to do so may not be held against you in determining your innocence or guilt; and
7) You may call witnesses to testify on your behalf at the trial, and have the court issue a subpoena to any witnesses to ensure their appearance at the trial.
In addition to your rights, you have some legal responsibilities. The law requires you to make an appearance in your case. Your appearance date is noted on your citation, bond, summons, or release papers. You or your attorney may appear in person in open court, by mail, or you may deliver your plea in person to the court. (Juveniles have a separate set of rules for their appearance).
Your first appearance is to determine your plea. If you waive a jury trial and plead guilty or nolo contendre (no contest), you may present extenuating circumstances for the judge to consider when determining the proper punishment. However, the judge is not required to reduce your fine. If you plead not guilty, the court will schedule you a jury trial. You may waive a jury trial and request a bench trail. When you make your appearance by mail, your plea must be postmarked by your scheduled appearance date. If you plead not guilty, the court will notify you of the date of you trial.
If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest, you must also waive your tight to a jury trial. you may request the amount of the fine and appeal bond in writing and mail or deliver it to the court before your appearance date. you then have up to 31 days from the time you received a notice from the court to pay the fine or file and appeal bond with the municipal court.
All person present in the courtroom shall be neat and dressed in a manner that shows dignity and respect for the court. It is important to be on time for your court appearance. You must be present in the courtroom when docket is called, or you risk having a Failure to Appear charge added and warrants issued. Please allow ample time for traffic, parking, and security screenings when you arrive.
Weapons of any kind are strictly prohibited in the Court. This does not apply to law enforcement personnel. Items such as pocket-knives, scissors, pepper spray, or anything deemed unacceptable by the Bailiff will not be permitted into the courtroom. All handbags are subject to search by the bailiff upon entry.
- Caps, hats, or bandanas
- Cut-off shirts, mid-drifts, or tank tops
- Trench coats
- Provocative clothing or styles worn to disrupt or distract from court decorum
- Any clothing items that display offensive, vulgar, racist, sexist, obscenity, or gang-relation