Receiving a Ticket
The fact that a person has received a ticket does not mean that a person is guilty of the offense. A Judge or Jury will determine the disposition of the case based on the law and facts of each case.
To enter a plea of not guilty, and request an appearance date, an individual must contact the Department of Court and Detention Services in person or in writing within twenty-one (21) days after receipt of a citation. The service hours are listed on the reverse side of the citation.
A defendant may hire an attorney to represent him/her in court, however, many defendants elect to represent themselves. Cases heard in the Municipal Court are Class C' Misdemeanors and are punishable by fine only. In most cases the fine cannot exceed $500 plus state court taxes ("court costs") but some City Ordinance violations carry a maximum fine of $2000.
A defendant has the right to a Jury trial by six of his/her peers. This right can be waived and the case would be heard before a Municipal Judge.
If a trial is requested, the law does not require a defendant to prove his/her innocence. The State has the burden of proving the defendant committed the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt. To do so, the State will introduce evidence and call witnesses to testify.
The defendant or his/her attorney will be given an opportunity to cross examine or question the State's witnesses. The defendant can call witnesses on his/her behalf and request the Court to have necessary witnesses and/or evidence subpoenaed.
The law provides that a defendant may testify in his/her own behalf or has the right to remain silent. If the defendant elects not to testify, that fact cannot be taken as a circumstance against them.
If a person decides they do not want a trial and enter a plea of "nolo contendere" (no contest) or guilty, the fine can be paid by mail or at the Municipal Court Cashier Window. A list of offenses and the fine amount are on the back side of the citation. If the offense and corresponding fine do not appear on the reserve side of the citation, contact the Department of Court and Detention Services at (214) 747-3800.
Failure to appear in Court or by written correspondence within twenty-one (21) days after the issuance of a citation, will result in a charge of "failure to appear" and a warrant may be issued for the person's arrest.
A traffic citation can be dismissed by taking a Driving Safety Course or Deferred Adjudication. However, a person will lose that right if they do not provide an oral or written request to the Court on or before the appearance date of their desire to do so.
Any person seventeen (17) years of age or under charged with a Class 'C' Misdemeanor must appear before the Court and must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian