Appearing in Court

Court Information

Please allow 2-3 days before making an appearance. The police department must first file the charge with the court before we can assist you.

Your appearance date is noted on your citation just above your signature, It states that you promise to appear “on or before” and a date is provided. You must make an appearance in person or by mail (post marked) no later than the date provided. Telephone calls DO NOT constitute an appearance. Please note that the clerks can handle most transactions at the window. If you wish to see the judge, you must submit a written request, and then you will be scheduled for the next available docket.

Methods of payment are cash, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. Please make check or money order payable to Johnson City Municipal Court.

Continuance requests may only be submitted for good cause and they must be submitted in writing. Therefore, they are not granted by telephone.

Appearing in Court

The law requires that you (and/or your attorney) appear in Court in person for your case. If you are under 17 years of age you must appear with a parent in court and cannot waive court appearance.

Your first appearance is to determine what plea you will enter in your case. If you plead guilty or no contest, you may wish to reveal any extenuating circumstances that you want the judge to consider when setting your fine. If you pled “not guilty” the Court will schedule a pre-trial date and a jury trial date. You may waive your rights to a jury trial. If you do, the trial will take place before a judge. In all criminal trials, the State must prove the guilt of the Defendant beyond a reasonable doubt of the alleged offense charged in the complaint.

The Trial

Under Texas law, you can be brought to trial only after a formal complaint is filed. The complaint is the charging document that alleges what you have done, and the fact that such action is unlawful. You can be tried only for what is alleged in the complaint. Trials are conducted under the Code of Criminal Procedure as adopted by the State of Texas Legislature. These laws may be found in Chapter 45 of the Texas Codes of Criminal Procedure.

  • You have the right to inspect the complaint before trial and have it read to you at the trial itself
  • You are entitled to hear all testimony introduced against you
  • You ave a right to cross-examine any witness who testifies against you
  • You have the right to testify in your own behalf. Yo also have the right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot be considered in determining your innocence or guilt of the charge.
  • You may call witnesses to testify in your behalf at the trial, and have the right to have the Court issue subpoenas to these witnesses to ensure their appearance at the trial.

Request for the Making of and Electronic Record (recording)

All requests for a trial to be electronically recorded, in order to provide a record for appeal, must be made to the judge in writing at or before the pre-trial hearing. Failure to do so waives a defendant’s right to have the proceeding (trial) recorded.

Presenting the Case

As in all criminal trials, the State will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. You will have the right to cross-examine each prosecution witness. In other words, you can ask the witness questions about their testimony. However, you cannot argue with the witness. Your cross-examination of the witness must be in the form of questions only. Do not attempt to tell your version of the incident at this time – you will have an opportunity to do so later if you testify.

After the State has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witness who knows anything about the incident, but the witness can testify only about matters of which they have personal knowledge.

If you choose, you may testify in your own behalf. since you are the defendant, you cannot be compelled to testify. It is your choice, you may do as you wish, and your silence cannot be used against you.

The State also has the right to cross-examine all witnesses called by you. If you testify in your own behalf, he State may cross-examine.

After testimony is concluded by both sides, you can make a closing argument by telling the Court why you feel that you are not guilty of the offense charged. But such statement can only be based on the testimony heard during the trial. Additional testimony is not admissible in the closing arguments.

The Verdict

If the case is tried by a judge, the decision is called a judgement. If the case is tried by a jury, the decision is called a verdict. In determining the defendant’s guilt or innocence, the judge or jury can consider only the testimony of witnesses and any evidence admitted during the trial. If you are found guilty by either the judge or the jury, the penalty will be announced at that time. If found not guilty, you will be acquitted of the charges. If you are found guilty the Judge will announce the penalty at that time.

New Trial

If you are found guilty, you may make a written motion to the Court for a new trial. The motion must be filed within 10 days after judgement or verdict of guilt has been rendered against you and must specifically include what grounds you rely upon. The Judge may grant a new trial if confident that an error has occurred in the trial of your case. Only one new trial may be granted for each offense.

Appeal

If you are found guilty and are not satisfied with the judgement of the Court, you have the right to appeal your case. You must file a timely motion for a new trial to perfect your appeal. To appeal, you ,must file an appeal bond with the Municipal Court within 10 days after the motion for new trial is overruled by the Court or operation of law and follow. If you appeal you will have to obtain a record. In order to obtain a copy of the record you must pay the fees required by the court reporter.

Continuances

Attorneys and pro se litigants understand that they are not excused from attending Court based on the filming of a motion for continuance or any request for continuance or any request for continuance. All motions and requests for continuance must be sworn to, in writing, and must be submitted to and received by the Court no less than 24 hours before the date of the hearing sought to be continued. When submitting a motion for continuance, as in all motions, the defendant and his/her attorney are required to attach an order for the judge to sign indicating whether the motion has been granted or denied. There will be no re-sets of any jury trials except upon an emergency situation. Only if the motion is granted are attorneys and parties excused from appearing. It is the duty of the movant to ascertain whether the Judge has granted or denied their motion for continuance. If the motion has not been granted, the attorneys and parties are required to attend the court session to which they were assigned. If the motion for continuance was granted by the Judge, the attorneys, pro-se litignants, and all parties agree to appear at the new court date. It is the duty of all attorneys and pro-se litignants to contact the court and ascertain the time and date to which the case is reset. Failure to appear at the time and date on which your case is re-set shall constitute a Failure To Appear/Bail Jumping criminal charge to be issued against the defendant and may also be grounds for a contempt of court (order) charge being filed against the attorney as well as referral to the State Bar of Texas for disciplinary proceedings. A continuance may be requested for the reasons set forth in the Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 28.01.

 

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