Representing Yourself in Municipal Court
Representing Yourself in Municipal Court
It is every individual’s constitutional right to represent themselves in municipal court. However, all the defendants who decide to represent themselves in court should understand that they will be held to exactly the same standards as an attorney.
Individuals who are representing themselves (Pro-Se parties) should be prepared to present their cases in a proper manner. It is not the Court’s duty or responsibility to protect or represent you, or to instruct or educate you on court procedures, evidence, rules or how to present and prove your case. If you are unprepared, unaware, and not knowledgeable as to presenting your case, you may lose your case.
Pro-Se defendants should be familiar with the pre-trial and trial process, Texas Rules of Evidence, the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, and the State law or City Ordinance with which they are charged with violating. The court highly encourages all pro-se defendants o watch several jury trials in this court or other courts before you go to trial on your case.
It is illegal in Texas for another person who is not a licensed attorney to represent or give legal advice to another. This crime is called Barratry. If the court observes this criminal behavior occur, law enforcement officers may be ordered to arrest of any person believed to be violating this law.
Municipal Court Overview
Municipal Courts are the judicial branch of the city government. In addition, the Municipal Court is part of the state judicial system. Municipal Courts hear Misdemeanor criminal cases, including traffic violations, which are punishable by fine only, and for which no jail sentence may be assessed. They also hear cases involving violation of city ordinance.
Rules of Decorum and Conduct
Under the inherent power and duty of all Texas courts as codified in section 21.002, Texas Government Code, the Johnson City Rules of Decorum and Conduct shall apply and govern all proceedings before the Johnson City Municipal Court of Record Number One in the County of Blanco, State of Texas. All attorneys practicing before this Court, all pro-se defendants acting as their own counsel, and one of the parents or legal guardians of any juvenile defendant who is under the age of 17 years of age are required to read these rules completely and to confirm their conduct to the above stated Rules of Decorum Conduct. All attorneys and practicing before this Court and pro-se defendants acting as their own counsel are required to sign and attest to their receipts of these Rules and to acknowledge that they will follow said Rules at the time of their first court appearance.All attorneys and pro-se defendants acting as their own counsel are required to check to make sure they have the latest copy of these local Rules since there will be addendums and new revisions to these Rules. All attorneys and pro-se defendants acknowledge that it is their responsibility to check with the Court to ensure they have the most current Rules of Decorum Conduct.
Court of Record
Johnson City Municipal Court of Record #1 is a Court of Record. All the pleadings must be in writing. Proceedings are governed by the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and Chapter 30 of the Texas Government Code.
When you receive a citation, the options you have to resolve your case can vary depending on many different factors, including but not limited to: the type of violation, the severity of the violation, the age of the defendant, etc. The first thing you will need to do is enter a plea. Once you enter a plea, you may have the option of disposing of the case without appearing in open court. If your situation allows you to resolve the matter without having to appear in open court, you may pay the fine, provide proof for expired license plates or inspection stickers, or Failure to Provide Proof of Financial Responsibility matters, or you may be eligible for an alternative sentencing option such as Deferred Disposition Probation or a State Driver Safety Course.