Rights in Municipal Court
Legal Advice Waivers
This information is to ensure you understand the court proceedings and to inform you of your rights and duties as a defendant. By understanding all your options and rights you can be assured a fair and impartial trial.
Nothing contained herein is to be construed as legal advice
You may ask the clerks for an explanation of the procedures in municipal court. By law, the clerks are not allowed to provide you with any information that could be considered legal advice.
Options Before Your Plea Docket Date
(generally considered the first appearance before the Judge)
You have several options to handle your citation prior to your court date. The court date is located on the front of your citation. Examples of these options are as follows:
- Appear in open court before the judge
- Plead guilty or no contest and pay the fine
- Plead not guilty and schedule a pre-trial / trial date
- Request deferred disposition
- Request defensive driving
- Request dismissal of an expired offense
If you choose to take advantage of one of these options prior to your initial court appearance, you will need to follow the instructions contained on our web page.
In the case of a defensive driving request - failure to postmark or make the request in person prior to your initial court appearance may (by law) result in a denial of this option.
Appearance at Your Initial Court Setting
This court setting is the date found on the front of your citation. When you appear at this setting you will enter your plea to the violation. Plea definitions are provided here for your reference.
When appearing before the Judge, the time allocated for your visit will vary according to how many other defendants appear at the docket setting and the order in which you checked in with the bailiff.
The check-in process begins at 3:30 pm and court starts at 3:45 pm.
Preparing for Court
Defendants who are scheduled to appear before the Judge must bring proof of their identity with them to the court setting. As long-term consequences exist upon conviction of a traffic citation, positive identification must be made in order to allow a defendant to enter a plea to their charge(s). Proof may include:
- A state-issued driver’s license
- Your original citation
- Other photo ID – with your name printed on the document or card (student ID, passport, photo work ID, concealed handgun license)
Turn off all electronic devices prior to entering the courtroom and ensure you have left all weapons, pocket knives or other sharp items in your vehicle as well. Defendants will be subject to a security search upon entering the court facility.
Bring all proof of expired violations and/or insurance to the court hearing. The Judge cannot consider your case for dismissal without proof of your correcting the offense for his review. Be prepared to pay all administrative dismissal fees for these violations at your hearing. The amount will be approximately $20 per violation. Failure to pay the required administrative dismissal fees may result in the Judge assessing the original fine amounts.
All persons, packages, purses, briefcases, etc. are subject to search by the bailiff at any time.
PLEASE REMAIN QUIET – The Judge will explain a series of options and responsibilities for the defendants before each session. It is important to remain quiet in order to understand his instructions.
No electronic devices in the courtroom – turn off all cell phones, pagers, computers, etc.
Individuals causing distraction or disruptions are subject to removal from the courtroom.
Please do not offer fellow defendants legal advice unless you are the attorney of record for that person. Events for each citation(s) vary from person to person and situations are dependent on different facts and circumstances - those without a law license should refrain from practicing law.
Proper Attire Required
NO: Swimsuits, Tank Tops, Muscle Shirts, Exposed Midriffs, Exposed Underwear or Baggy Pants
GENTLEMEN MUST REMOVE HATS OR CAPS
SHOES ARE REQUIRED
NO FOOD OR DRINKS ALLOWED IN THE COURTROOM
NO WEAPONS ALLOWED IN THE COURTROOM - Texas Penal Code 46.03