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.
- 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.