Traffic Ticket
 
Criminal Jurisdiction
  • Justice of the Peace Courts have original jurisdiction in criminal cases punishable by fine only, or punishable by fine and a sanction not consisting of confinement or imprisonment.
  • Criminal procedures for cases that are within the criminal jurisdiction of the Bandera County Justice Courts are found in Chapter 45 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures.
  • The Rules of Evidence governing the trials of criminal actions in District Courts and County Courts apply to a criminal proceeding in Justice of the Peace Courts.
 
Rights of the Defendant
If you are accused of an offense within the jurisdiction of the Justice Court, you have certain rights.
  • You have the right to see the complaint or citation that has been filed with the court.
  • You have the right to a trial by jury, but you may waive the right to a trial by jury and be tried by the Judge.
  • You have the right to be represented by an attorney of your choice. You are not required to be represented by an attorney. An attorney may make an appearance on your behalf.
  • You have the right to remain silent and not to give evidence against yourself. You may waive this right and discuss your case with a prosecutor in an effort to dispose of your case without trial.
 
Alternatives to Payment of Fines and Costs
A defendant who is convicted of a criminal offense punishable by fine only is entitled to alternative methods of satisfying the judgment against them if they are unable to pay the fine or costs, in whole or in part.
Those alternative methods include:
  • A payment plan, allowing the defendant to make payments toward the fine and costs in designated intervals. Note that if any amount is paid more than 30 days after the judgment assessing the fine or costs then a $25 time payment fee must be assessed.
  • Disposition of the amount assessed by performing community service. There are many options that meet the requirements of the law for community service, see Art. 45.049 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for full details. A defendant is entitled to a minimum of $100 credit for every 8 hours of community service performed.
  • If performing community service imposes an undue hardship, a defendant who is indigent or who lacks sufficient resources to pay is entitled to a waiver of the fine and costs, in whole or in part.
 
First Appearance in Court
Your traffic citation or summons will specify a place, date and time on which you are required to appear in court. If your appearance date is a day in which the court is closed, you have until the next business day to appear. At the time of your first appearance, you will be identified as the defendant, and you will be asked how you plea to the offense with which you are charged. Pleas are “not guilty,” “guilty,” or “nolo-contendere (no contest).”
  • If you plead not guilty, your case will be set for trial. You may waive your right to a trial by jury and have your case heard by a judge. At your request, the court will subpoena a witness on your behalf, but you must furnish the court with the name, address, and telephone number of each witness prior to trial. You may be required to attend a pre-trial hearing.
  • If you refuse to enter a plea, the court will enter a plea of not guilty for you and your case will be set for jury trial unless you waive that right.
  • If you plead guilty or nolo-contendere (no contest), the court will find you guilty and assess a fine as punishment. A plea of no contest has the same result as a plea of guilty, but it may not be used against you in any civil proceeding that might arise from the incident leading to your arrest.
  • If you are pleading guilty or nolo-contendere (no contest), you may present any evidence or documents to the court in connection with the offense and you may explain any mitigating circumstance that may affect your punishment.
The court may be required to provide you certain notices, and it is your responsibility to notify the court of any change of address.
 
IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO APPEAR IN COURT
Pay the Acceptable Fine in Person, by Mail, or Online
If you do not want to appear in court, you have the option of paying your fine by mail, by paying in person at the Justice Court as directed on your citation or summons, or paying online at the link listed below. Before the time you must appear in court, mail or bring to the court a Plea of Guilty or Nolo-contendere (no contest) together with your payment of the acceptable fine if you are seventeen (17) years of age or older. The acceptable fine amount will include the court cost for the offense with which you are charged. If you are paying by mail, you must pay by cashier’s check or money order, payable to the Bandera County Justice Court. If you are paying in person, you may pay your fine in cash, by cashier’s check or money order or with a credit or debit card. If you want to play with a credit card or debit card, the court does accept this method of payment. However, the court cannot accept credit card payments for the following:
Cash Bonds Appeal Bonds Payment by Mail
Payment of the acceptable fine and court costs constitutes a finding of guilty in open court as though you had entered a plea of no contest.
You must contact the court at 830-796-3593 to obtain the case number and the amount of the fine and costs due prior to paying online.
Juveniles (someone under the age of 17 at the time the offense was committed) charged with a crime or issued a traffic citation, cannot pay online or by mail.
To pay online with a credit or debit card go to:
http://gov-pay.com/bandera-co_jp4
or call 1-800-300-8007
 
Enter a Plea of Not Guilty by Mail
Before the time you must appear in court, you may mail or bring to the court a Plea of Not Guilty. You may be required to post a personal bond. The personal bond is your assurance you will appear at all proceedings and hearings as required by the court. You will NOT have to pay any monies with the personal bond, only your signature to ensure you will appear at all required proceedings. You may be requested to appear for a pretrial hearing. The court will set your case for a jury trial. If you notify the court that you waive your right to a jury trial, your case will be set for trial before a Judge.
 
Offenses Subject to Automatic Dismissal
Should you receive a citation for one of the offenses listed below, you may have that offense dismissed under certain circumstances and pay a dismissal fee if required. A Bandera County Transaction fee of $2.00 will be charged in addition to the Dismissal Fee. (See attached table of violation dismissals with dismissal fees)
 
DISMISSAL BY DRIVERS SAFETY COURSE
Dismissal for Driving Safety Course or Motorcycle Operator Training Course
If you are charged with an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle or motorcycle defined by Subtitle C of the Texas Transportation Code (Rules of the Road), you may request that your citation be dismissed by successfully completing a driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course. You will lose that right if you do not provide the court with notice of your request to take the course on or before your appearance date. You do not have the right to take a course if you are currently taking a course, or have completed a course within the twelve (12) months preceding the date of your offense and the course was taken to secure a dismissal of a traffic citation.
 
Ineligibility for Driving Safety Course or Motorcycle Operator Training Course
You do NOT have the right to take a course if you hold a commercial driver’s license or if you held a commercial driver’s license when the offense was committed.
You do NOT have the right to take a course if you are charged with:
  • Passing a school bus while loading or unloading
  • Failing to stop and give information or render aid following an accident
  • Striking an unattended vehicle or fixture or highway landscape and leaving the scene
  • A traffic offense committed in a construction zone and maintenance work zone with workers present
  • Speeding ninety-five (95) miles per hour or more
  • Speeding twenty-five (25) miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit
You may not take the course if you are taking the course at the time of the request, or if you have completed a course within the twelve (12) months preceding the date of the offense.
 
REQUIREMENTS FOR DRIVING SAFETY COURSE OR MOTORCYCLE OPERATOR TRAINING COURSE
Training Course
You must:
  • have a valid Texas driver’s license or permit
  • Or be a member of the United States military forces serving on active duty
  • Or be the spouse or dependent child of a member of the United States Military forces on active duty
  • have proof of financial responsibility (liability insurance).
 
How to Request a Training Course Dismissal
On or before the appearance date on your citation, you must:
  1. Enter a plea of guilty or nolo-contendere (no contest);
  2. Waive a trial by jury;
  3. Submit to the court a request to take a Driving Safety Course;
  4. Hold a valid Texas driver’s license, or be a member, or the spouse or dependent child of a member of the United States military forces serving on active duty; and
  5. Provide proof of automobile liability insurance or other proof of financial responsibility as required by Chapter 601 of the Texas Transportation Code.
 
Court Costs for the Driving Safety Course
If eligible, you may apply and pay the court costs for the driving safety course (DSC) at the Justice Court or by mail. You may contact the Justice Court for the fee amount and payment arrangements. When you have qualified and have paid the court costs, the court will assess a fine but, will defer the imposition of the judgement for ninety (90) days to allow you to successfully complete the driving safety course or motorcycle operator training course and submit all documents along with a Certified Copy of your Driving Record. Do not take the course until you receive the necessary paperwork for the court allowing to you do so.
 
Members of the United States Military
If you do not have a valid Texas driver’s license, but are a member, or the spouse or dependent child of member of the United States military forces serving on active duty, you must submit an affidavit stating that you are not taking a course in another state on the date requested to take the course was made, and that you have not completed such course within the twelve (12) months preceding the date of the course.
 
Requesting Your Driving Record
You may order your driving record by mail using a form provided by the court or through Texas Online at:
http://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/driverrecords.htm
 
Dismissal by Suspension of Sentence & Deferral of Final Disposition
At your request, the court may, under certain conditions, consider allowing you a suspended sentence and deferral of final disposition or “deferred disposition.” You must plead guilty or nolo-contendere (no contest) and pay an administrative fee and complete any court order requirements.
Under this procedure, the court will assess an administrative fee, but will defer further proceedings and place you on a probation for up to 180 days. During the probation period the court may require you to:
  • Commit no other offenses during the deferral period
  • Complete a Defensive Driving Course
  • Post a bond in the amount of the fine assessed to secure payment of the fine
  • Pay restitution to the victim of the offense
  • Submit to professional counseling
  • Submit to diagnostic testing for alcohol or drugs
  • Submit to a psychosocial assessment
  • Participate in alcohol or drug abuse treatment program
  • Pay the cost of the testing, assessment, or treatment or education program
  • Complete a course as directed by the Judge or
  • Comply with any other reasonable condition.
You may be required to pay a special expense fee in an amount not to exceed the amount of the maximum fine for the offense committed.
You will be required to present to the court satisfactory evidence that you have complied with each requirement imposed.
When the court determines that you have complied with the requirements imposed, your case will be dismissed.
If you fail to present satisfactory evidence that you have complied with the requirements, the court will impose the fine assessed and you will be required to pay that fine. If you paid a special expense, that amount will be credited toward the payment of the amount of the fine imposed. The imposition of the fine constitutes a final conviction.
 
Appeal
An appeal from judgment of a Bandera County Justice Court is heard by the Bandera County Court.
An appeal is perfected by filing an Appeal Bond in the amount of two times the amount of the fine and costs. The bond is filed with the Justice Court in which the case was filed, and must be filed not later than the tenth (10th) day after the date of the judgement was entered. When an appeal bond has been timely filed, all proceedings in the Justice Court will cease.
 
 
DISCLAIMER
The information provided on this web site is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice. No warranty is made as to the accuracy or correctness of any information contained on this web page. Every legal problem has a unique set of facts and circumstances behind it. Persons seeking legal advice should contact their own attorney for that advice and should not rely on anything presented herein.

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