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APPEARANCE

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 may deliver your plea in person to the court.

PLEAS

Unless you are entitled to a compliance dismissal, you must enter one of the following three pleas:


NOT GUILTY - A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt and require the State to prove the charge.  A plea of not guilty does not waive any of your rights.  A plea of not guilty does not prevent a plea of guilty or no contest at a later time.


GUILTY - By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the criminal offense charged. 


"NOLO CONTENDERE" - A plea of "no contest" means that you do not contest the State's charge against you.  


​Clickhere to submit a plea by mail.

DRIVER SAFETY COURSE

If you are charged with a traffic offense, you may be eligible to ask the judge to take a driving safety course to dismiss the charge.  The request must be made on or before the appearance date on the citation.  It must be made in person, by counsel, or by certified mail.  DO NOT BEGIN TAKING THE DRIVER SAFETY COURSE BEFORE YOU SUBMIT THE REQUEST.   (If you are under age 17, you must appear in open court with a parent or guardian to the make the request.)  If you were operating a motorcycle, you may be required to take a motorcycle operator's training course.  If you are charged with allowing a child to ride unsecured in a safety belt or a child passenger safety seat system, you must take a special driving safety course that has four hours training on child passenger safety seat systems.  


To be eligible, you:
- Cannot have taken a driving safety course or motorcycle operator's course for a traffic offense within last 12 months from the date of the                current offense;
- Cannot currently be taking the course for another traffic violation;
- Cannot be the holder of a commercial driver's license (CDL) or have held a CDL at the time of the defense; and 
- Have not committed one of the following offenses:​ Failure to Give Information at Accident Scene; Leaving Scene of Accident; Passing a School    Bus; A serious traffic violation which applies to commercial motor vehicle operators; An offense in a construction or maintenance work zone      when workers are present; Speeding 25 mph or more over limit; or Speeding 95 mph or more.


At the time of request, you must do the following:

- Plead guilty or no contest;

​- Pay court costs of $99.00

- Pay a $10 administrative fee

- Present proof of financial responsibility (auto liability policy)

- Present a valid Texas driver's license or permit.

   (Active military and spouses or dependent children of active military may present a valid driver's license from any state.)


The case will be deferred for 90 days.  During that time you must:

1) Complete a driving safety course approved by the Texas Education Agency or a motorcycle operator's course approved by the Department of Public Safety and present the certificate of completion to the court;

2) Present a certified copy of your driving record** from the Department of Public Safety that shows that you have not had a driving safety course within the preceding 12 months from the date of the current offense; and

3) Swear to an affidavit that you were not taking a driving safety course at the time of the request for the current offense and that you have not taken one that is not shown on your driving record.


If you do not present the required documents in time, the court will notify you to return to court and explain why you failed.  The judge may, but is not required to, allow you to file the proper papers for an extension at that time.  Your failure to be present at that hearing will result in a conviction, a fine being assessed, and a capias pro fine for your arrest being issued.


** You may request and purchase your Driver Record information online at www.texas.gov and print the certified version immediately. You must request the “Type 3A” record to present to the court.  You may also request your driving record by mail using the Driving Record Order Form that can also be obtained on the referred website.  Please allow 2-3 weeks for delivery.  


​Deferred Disposition

The judge may, in the judge's sole discretion, defer disposition on most cases.  The holder of a commercial driver's license (CDL) is not eligible for deferred disposition on moving traffic violations.  Costs must generally be paid when the court grants deferred.  If you complete the required terms, the case is dismissed, and the court may impose a special expense fee not exceed the maximum fine amount authorized by state law.  The deferred period cannot exceed 180 days.    

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YOUR RIGHTS

- You are PRESUMED TO BE INNOCENT until proven guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt."

- You have the RIGHT TO BE INFORMED OF THE CHARGES against you.

​- ​​​You have the RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT AND REFUSE TO TESTIFY.

- You have the RIGHT TO RETAIN AN ATTORNEY. Since offenses in this court are punishable only by fine and not by incarceration, you DO NOT have the right to appointed counsel.​

- 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."

YOUR RIGHTS AS A DEFENDANT

IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT​

OF THE STATE OF TEXAS