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Municipal Court Procedures

This information is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney. If you have questions about your best course of action, what plea to enter, your rights, or the consequences of a conviction of the offense for which you are charged, you should contact an attorney. Clerks, judges and prosecutors cannot give legal advice.

Your Rights

  • Under the American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.
  • The State must prove you guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
  • Every criminal defendant has the right to remain silent and refuse to testify without consequences.

Your Rights Before Trial

  • You have the right to retain an attorney.
  • No attorney will be appointed for you.
  • You have the right to a jury trial.
  • You may waive a jury trial and have a trial before the judge.
  • If you elect to represent yourself, no person other than a licensed attorney can assist you during a trial.

Your Rights At Trial

  • To have notice of the complaint.
  • To inspect the complaint before trial and have it read to you.
  • To hear all testimony introduced against you.
  • To cross examine witnesses who testify against you.
  • To testify on your own behalf or refuse without consequences.
  • To subpoena and call witnesses to testify on your behalf.

Your Legal Obligation

  • The law requires you to make an appearance.
  • 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, postmarked by the appearance date (adults only)
    • Delivering your plea in person to the court (adults only)
  • Your first appearance is to determine your plea of guilty, nolo contendere (no contest) or not guilty.

Fair and Impartial Justice

The Municipal Judge is responsible for conducting a fair, impartial, and public trial. The case against you is brought by the State of Texas through the prosecutor, not the court. The Judge may not dismiss a case without the prosecutor having the right to try the case. The only exceptions are: Compliance Dismissals, Driver Safety Courses and Deferred Disposition.

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