Municipal Court - Your Rights
Before the Court can consider your case, you must enter a plea. You may enter one of three possible pleas:
- Guilty - You are admitting you committed the violation stated on the citation.
- No Contest / Nolo Contendere - You choose not to contest the charge(s) brought against you. The Judge will find you guilty without your admitting any guilt.
- Not Guilty - You are denying you committed the violation stated on the citation and the State must prove its charges against you at trial.
- If you received a citation with more than 1 charge, you must enter a plea for each charge. You are not required to enter the same plea for all charges.
If your plea is "Guilty" or "No Contest", you may pay your fine by mail, in person in the court office or by credit card any time on or before your court date (called Arraignment) (except juveniles or minors charged with alcohol or tobacco related offenses). If you do not dispose of your cases prior to your assigned arraignment date, you must appear in court at 9:00 a.m. on that date. You may elect to take a driving safety course to have a moving violation dismissed provided you are eligible.
If your plea is "Not Guilty", you may appear for Arraignment, sign for a trial setting and be given an opportunity to speak with the City Prosecutor should you wish to discuss a plea bargain agreement. If no agreement is reached, you will return for a trial before the Judge on the first Wednesday of the month or for jury trial on the first Thursday of the month. If you are found "Guilty" at trial, the Judge or jury will assess your penalty. The penalty may be different from the window fine.
You may present your own case at your hearing or you may employ an attorney to represent you (one will not be appointed to represent you).
For your convenience and to lessen court time the following options are available in the court office prior to your arraignment date:
Driving Safety Course (Defensive Driving). When charged with a moving traffic violation, you are eligible to take the course if:
- You provide a valid non-commercial Texas driver's license; and valid insurance proof that lists you as an insured driver.
- You have not taken the driving safety course for a ticket dismissal in the last year.
- Your were not charged with speeding 25 or more over the posted speed limit or charged with failing to stop for a school bus loading or unloading children.
- Pay court costs of $103 OR $128(School Zone Violations) and apply to the State for a certified copy of your driving record (their fee is $10.00).
If you meet all the qualifications, you will be given 90 days to locate and complete the course, (must be taken at a certified school in the state of Texas – their fee will be a minimum of $25.00) and you will be on probation for 90 days. During that time frame you must not receive any citations charging you with a traffic offense.
- Expired Motor Vehicle Inspection
- Expired Registration
- Expired Driver's License
The Judge will dismiss "Expired" charges provided they were not expired for more that 60 days, renewal was performed within 10 working days of the date of the citation, and written proof of renewal and a $10.00 dismissal fee per violation is provided to the court office on or before your arraignment date.
Fail to Maintain Financial Responsibility (Insurance) - The insurance charge will be dismissed provided insurance was in effect at the time the citation was issued and proof is provided to the Court on or before the arraignment date.
You may appear in the court office prior to your arraignment to enter a plea of guilty or no contest and request time to pay the fine. If you cannot pay the fine within 30 days from date of the judgment, a $25.00 time payment fee must be added to each violation. The Judge will allow you to pay a minimum of $50.00 on the 5th and $50.00 on the 20th of each month.