; Municipal Court
Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out
Your Federal Quarterly Tax Payments are due April 15th Get Help Now >>

Municipal Court


  • pg 1
									                                              remain silent and refuse to testify (without    Your first appearance is to determine your       Fines, Cost and Fees
 Municipal Court                              consequences). You have the right to            plea. If you waive a jury trial and plead
                                              retain an attorney and have them try your       guilty or no contest you may present             The amount of fine the court assesses is
  Procedures                                  case or answer your questions. Since
                                              offenses in this court are punishable only
                                                                                              extenuating circumstances for the judge to
                                                                                              consider when setting your fine. If you
                                                                                                                                               determined by the facts and circumstances
                                                                                                                                               of the case. Mitigating circumstances may
    (Adults)                                  by fine and not by incarceration, you do
                                              not have the right to appointed counsel.
                                                                                              plead not guilty, the court will schedule a
                                                                                              jury trial. You may waive a jury trial and
                                                                                                                                               lower     the    fine    and     aggravating
                                                                                                                                               circumstances may increase the fine. The
                                                                                              be set for trial before the court. When you      maximum fine amount allowed for most
                                              You have the right to a jury trial. You may     make your appearance by mail, the court          traffic violations is $200; for most other
                                              also waive a jury trial and have a trial        must receive your plea before your               violations of State law and city ordinances-
                                              before the judge, commonly called a bench       scheduled appearance date. If you plead          -$500; for health and safety city ordinance
                                              trial. At trial you have many rights            not guilty, the court will notify you of the     violations--$2,000. The court may set the
                                              including:                                      date of your trial.                              fine between $1 and the maximum.
Prepared and Distributed by the
    Texas Municipal Courts                    1)   The right to have notice of the            If you plead guilty or no contest, you           Courts are required by State law to collect
          Association                              complaint not later than the day           waive your right to a jury trial. You may        court costs and fees for the State of Texas.
                                                   before any proceedings;                    request the amount of fine and appeal bond       If you go to trial, you may have to also pay
  and Texas Municipal Courts                                                                  in writing and mail or deliver it to the court   the costs of overtime paid to a peace
       Education Center                       2)   The right to inspect the complaint         before your appearance date. You then            officer spent testifying in the trial. If you
 TMCEC is funded by a grant                        before trial, and have it read to you at   have up to 31 days from the time you             request a jury trial, a $3 jury fee is
    from the Texas Court of                        trial;                                     received a certified notice from the court to    assessed. If you do not pay the whole fine
                                                                                              pay the fine or file an appeal bond with the     and costs within 30 days of the court’s
       Criminal Appeals                       3)   The right to hear all testimony            municipal court.                                 judgment you must pay a $25 time
                                                   introduced against you;                                                                     payment fee.
City:     TOM BEAN
                                              4)   The right to cross-examine witnesses                                                        Court costs are assessed if you are found
Address: PO BOX 312                                who testify against you;                   Unless your case is covered by the               guilty at trial, if you plead guilty or nolo
         TOM BEAN, TX 75489                                                                   information on the back of this pamphlet,        contendere, if your case is deferred for a
                                              5)   The right to testify in your own           you must enter one of these three pleas:         driving safety course, or if your case is
Telephone: 903-546-6321                            behalf;                                                                                     deferred and you are placed on probation.
                                                                                              Plea of Not Guilty – A plea of not guilty        If you are found not guilty courts costs are
Purpose                                       6)   The right not to testify. Your refusal     means that you deny guilt, and require the       not assessed.
                                                   to do so many not be held against you      State to prove the charge. A plea of not
This pamphlet is designed to provide
                                                   in determining your innocence or           guilty does not waive any of your rights.        Judge’s Ability to Dismiss
information about court proceedings. It is
                                                   guilty; and                                A plea of not guilty does not prevent a plea
not a substitute for legal advice from a
                                                                                              of guilty or no contest at a later time.         The municipal judge is responsible for
licensed attorney. If you have questions
                                              7)   You may call witnesses to testify in                                                        conducting a fair, impartial and public
about your best course of action, what plea
                                                   your behalf at the trial, and have the     Plea of Guilty – By a plea of guilty, you        trial. The case against you is brought by
you should enter, your rights, or the
                                                   court issue a subpoena (a court order)     admit that the act is prohibited by law and      the State of Texas through the prosecutor,
consequence of a conviction of the offense
                                                   to any witnesses to ensure their           that you committed the act charged.              not the court. Therefore, the judge may
for which you are charged you should
                                                   appearance at the trial.                                                                    not dismiss a case without the prosecutor
contact an attorney. Neither the clerk,
                                                                                              Plea of Nolo Contendere (no contest) – A         having the right to try the case.
judge nor prosecutor can give you legal
                                              Appearance                                      plea of nolo contendere means that you do
                                                                                              not contest the State’s charge against you.      Exceptions
                                              In addition to your rights, you also have
Your Rights                                   some legal responsibilities.     The law                                                         There are several exceptions to this rule,
                                              requires you to make an appearance on           If you plead guilty or nolo contendere, you      they are contained later in this pamphlet
Under our American system of justice, all
                                              your case. Your appearance date is noted        will be found guilty and should be               and include Driver’s Safety Courses,
persons are presumed to be innocent until
                                              on your citation, bond, summons, or             prepared to pay the fine. A plea of guilty       Deferred       Disposition,     Inspection,
proven guilty. The State must prove you
                                              release papers. You or your attorney may        waives all of the trail rights discussed         Registration, some Driver’s License
guilty of the offense with which you are
                                              appear in person in open court, by mail, or     earlier. You should contact the court            violations, and No Insurance violations.
charged “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
                                              you may deliver your plea in person to the      regarding how to make payments if you
Every criminal defendant has the right to
                                              court. (Juveniles have a separate set of        are unable to pay the entire fine and cost.
                                              rules for their appearance. Please read
                                              the juveniles pamphlet).
Trial Procedures                                 Driver’s Safety Courses                        During that time you must:                      Registration

If you choose to have the case tried before      If you are charged with a traffic offense,     1)   Complete a driving safety course that      The court may dismiss a expired
a jury, you have the right to question jurors    you may be eligible to ask the judge to             has been approved by the Texas             registration charge if the defect is remedied
about their qualifications to hear your case.    take a driving safety course to dismiss the         Education Agency or a motorcycle           with 10 days of citation, all late
If you think that a juror will not be fair,      charge. The request must be made before             operator’s course approved by the          registration fees were paid to the county,
impartial or unbiased, you may ask the           the appearance date on the citation. It             Department o Public Safety.                and a $10 fee is paid.
judge to excuse the juror. You are also          must be made in person, by counsel, or by
permitted to strike three members of the         certified mail. If you were operating a        2)   Present a certified copy of your           Failure to Display DL, Expired DL
jury panel for any reason you chose,             motorcycle, you must take a motorcycle              driving record from the Department
(except a strike based solely upon race or       operator’s training course. At the time of          of Public Safety that shows that you       Failure to Display a Driver’s License
gender).                                         the request, you must do the following:             have not had a driving safety course       offenses must be dismissed without any fee
                                                                                                     within the preceding 12 months; and        if you present evidence of a DL, valid at
As in all criminal trials, the State will        1)   Plead guilty or no contest;                                                               the time of the offense, to the court.
present its case first by calling witnesses to                                                  3)   Swear to an affidavit that you are not     Expired DL cases may be dismissed if
testify against you.                             2)   Pay court costs and a               $10        currently taking a driving safety          remedied within 10 days of citation and a
                                                      administrative fee, if required;               course and that you have not taken         $10 fee is paid.
You then have the right to cross-examine.                                                            one that is not shown on your driving
You may not, however, argue with the             3)   Present      proof     of     financial        record.                                    Failure to Provide Financial
witness. Cross-examination must be in the             responsibility (insurance);                                                               Responsibility (No Insurance)
form of questions.                                                                              If you do not take the course in the time
                                                 4)   Present a Texas Driver’s License;         required and/or fail to present the court       Failure to Provide Financial Responsibility
After the prosecution, you may present                                                          with any of the required documents, the         (No Insurance) offenses must be dismissed
your case. You have the right to call any        5)   Have not requested and taken a            court will notify you to return to court and    without a fee if you present evidence of
witness who knows anything about the                  driving safety course or motorcycle       explain why you failed. The judge may,          financial responsibility (insurance), valid
incident. The State has the right to cross-           operator course for a traffic offense     but is not required to, allow you to file the   at the time of the offenses, to the court, and
examine any witness that you call.                    with the last 12 months;                  proper papers at that time. Your failure to     the court verified the coverage.
                                                                                                be present at that hearing will result in a
If you so desire, you may testify in your        6)   Are not currently taking the course for   conviction, a fine being assessed, and a        Appeal and New Trial
own behalf, but as a defendant, you may               another traffic violation;                warrant for your arrest being issued.
not be compelled to testify. It is your                                                                                                         If you are found guilty, and are not
choice, and your silence cannot be used          7)   Do not hold a Commercial Driver’s         Deferred Disposition                            satisfied with the judgment of the court,
against you. If you do testify the State has          License; and                                                                              you have the right to appeal your case. To
the right to cross-examine you.                                                                 The judge may, in its sole discretion, defer    appeal you must file an appeal bond
                                                 8)   Have not committed one of the             disposition on most cases. Cost must be         amount at least twice the amount of the
After all testimony is concluded, both sides          following offenses:                       paid, and the court may impose a special        fine and costs.       Look at the section
can make a closing argument. This is your                                                       expense not to exceed the fine amount. If       appearance for the special rules for
opportunity to tell the jury or court why              Failure to Give Information at          you complete the required terms the case is     appealing pleas made by mail. Defendants
you are not guilty of the offense. The State            Accident Scene;                         dismissed at the end of a period not to         in courts of record should check with the
has the right to present the first and last            Leaving Scene of Accident;              exceed 180 days.                                court for rules regarding appeals.
arguments.                                             Passing a School Bus;
                                                       A serious traffic violation, which      Inspection                                      If you are found guilty, you may make an
In determining the defendant’s guilt or                 applies to commercial motor                                                             oral or written motion to the court for a
innocence, the judge or jury may consider               vehicle operators;                      Expired vehicle inspection cases must be        new trial. The motion must be made
only the testimony of witnesses and any                An offense in a construction            dismissed for the payment of a $10 fee if       within one day after the court’s rendering a
evidence admitted during the trial.                     maintenance work zone when              the defect is remedied with 10 days of the      judgment of guilty. The judge may grant a
                                                        workers are present; or                 citation, and it was expired less that 60       new trial if persuaded that justice has not
You may elect the jury to assess the fine if           Speeding 25 mph or more over            days. If it was expired more than 60 days       been done in your case. Only one new trial
you are convicted. If you do not file an                limit.                                  the court may dismiss.                          may be granted.
election the judge will assess the fine. You
should be prepared to pay the fine or post       The case will be deferred for 90 days.
an appeal bond if you are convicted.

To top