Appearance – You have a legal responsibility, as required by law, to make an appearance on your case. Your appearance date will be sent from the Court by mail advising you of the date you are required to be present.You and a parent or guardian must appear in person in open court. You are not allowed to appear by mail or by phone. You have an absolute right to be accompanied by your retained attorney.
Deferred Disposition– The judge may, in its sole discretion, defer disposition on most cases. Cost must be paid, and the court may impose a special expense fee not to exceed the fine amount. The court may also impose educational, treatment or other terms. If you complete the required terms, the case is dismissed at the end of a period not to exceed 180 days.
Discharge by Community Service – If you are unable to pay your fine and costs, you may be eligible to discharge your obligation by performing community service. This must be granted by the court. You will receive $50 credit for each 8 hours worked. Please let the judge know if you are unable to pay the fine and cost.
Judge’s Ability to Dismiss – 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. Therefore, the judge may not dismiss a case without the prosecutor having the right to try the case. Continuing Obligation to Appear and Notify Court of Address Change – You, and your parents or guardians, have a duty to continue appearing in court even after you reach 17. If you fail to appear in the case after your 17th birthday and notification by the court, you can be charged with an additional offense and arrested. You, and your parents or guardians, also have an obligation to inform the court each time you change addresses. You must notify the court within 10 days of each change of address. This obligation continues until your case if fully resolved and all fine and costs are paid or discharged. Failure to make a proper notification may cause you, and your parents or guardians, to be charged with a criminal violation and arrested. See Article 45.057 (h) & (i), Code of Criminal Procedure, on the last page for the complete legal text concerning your duty to appear and update address.
Mandatory Alcohol and Tobacco Courses and Community Service – If you are found guilty of, or placed on deferred for, an alcohol offense the court must, by State law, order you to complete an alcohol awareness course. The court must also order that you complete a period of community service. If you are found guilty of, or placed on deferred for, a tobacco offense, the court must order you to complete a tobacco awareness course.
Contempt – If you fail to pay the fine and costs, or violate other orders in the court’s judgment, the court may hold you in contempt of court. Violation of the Court’s order shall result in the Defendant being taken into custody by a peace officer and either:
1. Referral to the County juvenile court as delinquent conduct for contempt of Municipal Court order; or
2. Retain jurisdiction and assess a fine up to $500 and/or a Driver’s License suspension until the Defendant has fully complied with the orders of this court.
If an allegation of contempt stems from an offense occurring on or after September 1, 2003, and if you have already been found guilty, you may be committed to jail upon turning age 17. To avoid such consequences, you must fully comply with all of the Court’s order.
Driver’s License Suspension – Your license to drive may be lost if you fail to discharge your obligations in this court. Your license can be suspended for:
1. Failing to appear in court for your citation;
2. Failing to pay or discharge your fine and cost;
3. Failing to take and present proof of taking an alcohol or tobacco awareness course;
4. Being held in contempt for violating the court’s judgment.
A period of Driver’s License suspension is also mandatory on conviction of DUI and other minor alcohol violation like Minor In Possession.
Expunction Rights – Convictions from this court are criminal convictions. The records of this court, including all records in your case, are public and accessible to the public.
You may be entitled to an expunction of the records in your case. If you complete a deferred disposition in your case you may file a petition in District Court for Expunction.
Alcohol conviction (1), you may petition this court for an expunction after your 21st birthday.
Tobacco offenses, you may petition this court for expunction after your 18th birthday.
Failure to Attend (1) violation, you may petition this court for an expunction after your 18th birthday.
Any other non-traffic single violation, you may petition this court for expunction after your 17th birthday.
Ask the court for proper forms for application for expunction. If you have questions concerning the right to, need for, or consequences of expunction, please consult a licensed attorney.