Before Court Begins
If you were issued a citation, your appearance date noted on the citation is your deadline date to make your request to have your case set for court. Your request for a court date must be made in person, or in writing via fax, mail or email prior to your deadline date
If you are 16 years of age or younger the law requires that you appear in court with a parent or legal guardian before the judge. Please disregard the deadline date listed on the actual citation because the court will automatically schedule you a court date and you will receive notice of said court date through the mail at the address you provided.
If you have been released on bond, your court date is automatically scheduled by the court and you will receive notice of said court date through the mail at the address you provided. If you do not receive a court date within two weeks please call the court. Questions regarding your citation should be directed to 817.503.1300
Once your case has been scheduled for court, you must decide and enter a plea to the charge against you. By signing the citation in front of an officer, you did not plead guilty, but only signed a promise to appear in court. There are three possible pleas to a complaint:
- Nolo contendere (no contest)
- Not guilty
Under Texas law, you can be brought to trial only after a sworn complaint is filed against you. The complaint is a document that alleges what you are accused of, and that your actions are unlawful.
- You have the right to inspect the complaint before trial, and to have it read to you at trial.
- You have the right to have your case tried before a jury, if you desire.
- You are entitled to hear all testimony and see all exhibits introduced against you.
- You have the right to testify in your own behalf. You also have a constitutional right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot and will not be used against you in determining your guilt or innocence. However, if you do choose to testify, the prosecutor will have the right to cross-examine you.
- You may call witnesses to testify in your behalf. You also have the right to have the court subpoena witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial. However, you must furnish, in writing, the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of these witnesses to the court as soon as possible so that the witnesses may be located and subpoenas served.
Presenting The Case
As in all criminal trials, the state will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you or present any relevant evidence. After each prosecution witness has finished his testimony, you will have the right to cross-examine the witness. Your examination must be in the form of questions and you must not argue with the witness. Do not attempt to tell your side of the story at this time. You will have an opportunity to do so later in the trial. After the prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witness who has knowledge of the incident, or present any relevant evidence.
As stated previously, if you so desire, you may testify in your own behalf, but you cannot be compelled to do so. It is your own choice and your silence will not and cannot be used against you.
If the judge hears the case, the judge's decision is called a judgment. If a jury hears the case, the jury's 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 jury, the penalty will be announced at that time.
The amount of fine the court assesses is determined only by the facts and circumstances of the case. Mitigating circumstance may lower the fine even if you are guilty. On the other hand, aggravating circumstances may increase the fine.
Court costs are assessed if you are found guilty of an offense. State law mandates the court costs. The court costs vary according to the offense.
Right To Appeal
The Colleyville/Keller Municipal Court is a court of record. A motion for new trial must be made within one day after the rendition of judgment and sentence, and not afterward pursuant to Article 45.037 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. A defendant has the right to appeal, from a judgment and sentence, in a municipal court of record as provided by Article 45.042 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. You have ten (10) days from the date the judgment is entered to perfect your appeal. The appeal bond, and all motions, must be filed with the Colleyville/Keller Municipal Court no later than the 10th day after the date in which the judgment was rendered. The bond may be a surety bond, cash, a cashier’s check or a money order payment, payable to the Colleyville/Keller Municipal court, in the amount of double the fine assessed and court costs.
Statutory guidelines regarding the appeal process from a municipal court of record are set out in Chapter 30 of the Texas Government Code, as well as Chapter 45 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Tarrant County provides a free law library located on the fourth floor of the historic Tarrant County Courthouse, located at 100 W. Weatherford Street, in downtown Fort Worth. The applicable Texas Statutes may also be found at public libraries, or on the Internet, at www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us.