What You Can Expect When You Come To Court:
Under Texas State law, you are classified as a juvenile if you are under the age of 17. You must appear in Court with a parent or a legal guardian. You may also bring a lawyer, but the presence of your parent/guardian is still required. At your court appearance, you have certain options available to you:
You may contest the ticket and plead not guilty to the charge filed against you.
If you plead not guilty, you must decide whether or not you want a trial by a Judge or by a jury. Your trial will not be held the same day. Your case(s) will then be reset for a new trial date at which time you may present your case to the Court. At your trial, a Judge or a jury will determine your guilt or innocence.
You may agree with the ticket and enter a plea of guilty or no contest
- If you plead guilty or no contest, the Judge will find you guilty and assess a fine. The exact amount of the fine will depend on the nature of the offense and other circumstances reviewed by the Judge.
You should be prepared to pay the fine at the time you are found guilty.
Defensive Driving may be an option for moving violations.
You may enter a plea of guilty or no contest and request your sentence to be deferred (or placed on probation).
If probation is granted by the Judge, you must be prepared to pay court costs and Deferred Disposition fine. The Judge will set the terms and conditions of the 'probation' which you must follow for a period up to 6 months. Your case will be reset, and, if you successfully complete the terms and conditions of your "Court ordered sanctions" as set forth by the Judge, your case will be dismissed. When the case is dismissed, there will be no record of a conviction. Deferred Disposition allows you to receive a "second chance."
Other Important Things You Need To Keep In Mind:
- If you do not appear in court as scheduled, an additional charge of Violation of Failure to Appear (VFTA) may be filed against you, and a warrant could be issued for your arrest; and
- You are expected to act and dress properly and follow the rules of the Court. Shorts, tank tops, halters, caps or hats, and any type of clothing displaying vulgar or offensive graphics are not permitted.