Municipal Court Procedures for Adults
Prepared and distributed by the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center (TMCEC). The TMCEC is funded by a grant from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals
This information is designed to provide information about criminal court proceedings. It is not a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney. If you have questions about your best course of action, what plea you should enter, your rights or the consequence of a conviction of the offense for which you are charged, you should contact an attorney. Neither the clerk, judge, nor prosecutor can give you legal advice.
Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The state must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of the offense with which you are charged. Every criminal defendant has the right to remain silent and refuse to testify (without consequences). You have the right to retain an attorney and have them try your case or answer your questions. 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.” If you elect to represent yourself, no person other than an attorney can assist you during a trial.
At trial you have many rights including:
- The right to have notice of the complaint not later than the day before any proceedings in the prosecution
- The right to inspect the complaint before trial, and have it read to you at the trial
- The right to hear all testimony introduced against you
- The right to cross-examine witnesses who testify against you
- The right to testify on your own behalf
- The right not to testify (your refusal to do so may not be held against you in determining your innocence or guilt)
- You may call witnesses to testify on your behalf at the trial, and have the court issue a subpoena (a court order) to any witnesses to ensure their appearance at the trial