Resources

COURT APPEARANCES

 

Individuals who are over 65 and/ or individuals with serious underlying health condition(s) may contact the court at (361)587-3620 and identify yourself as a vulnerable person and the court will make special arrangements for you.  You must contact the court PRIOR to the date you are scheduled to appear. 

If you believe you have been exposed to the COVID-19 or have the symptoms associated with COVID-19 you Must notify the court immediately and the court will make accommodations for you. 

If you are not comfortable with appearing for court in person due to COVID-19 the court will have remote video conferencing and conference calls available on certain days and times.  You must contact the court PRIOR to the date you are scheduled to appear so arrangements may be made to accommodate your request.

If you were issued a citation you must appear on or before the appearance date listed on the citation. A telephone call does not constitute an appearance.

If you have any questions, please call 361) 528-3512 ext 114.

 

Rights /Plea Definitions

Rights of Defendants

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 court.

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.

First Appearance in Court

Your traffic citation or summons will specify a date and time on which you are required to appear in court. You may comply with a written promise to appear in court by an appearance by counsel. Tex. Transportation Code §543.009

At the time of your first appearance, you will be identified as the defendant, and you will be asked how you plead to the offense with which you are charged.

Pleas are "not guilty," "guilty," or "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 the case heard by the court. 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 conference.

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 a jury trial unless you waive that right.

If you plead guilty or 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 no contest, you may present any evidence or documents to the court in connection with the offense and you may explain any mitigating circumstances that may affect punishment.

If you are unsure about how to plead, you may enter a plea of not guilty.

The court will be required to provide you certain notices.

 

It is your responsibility to notify the court of any change of address in writing.

NO LEGAL ADVICE

The Taft Municipal Court does not provide legal advice. 

 
 
 
 

MUNICIPAL COURT FORMS

The Municipal Court Courtesy letter may be viewed here.  Please read both sides prior to contacting the court.

 

Plea Form*
This is a fillable form. Please download and complete, then Email, Mail or fax to the court (with any applicable attachments)


     * Please note it is the defendant's responsibility to ensure that all information and forms are                 accurate and complete and received by the court on or before your appearance date.

PREPARING FOR COURT

ITEMS TO BRING TO COURT

Before you come to court, here are the things you should bring with you:

  • Any documents that prove compliance with the judge's orders and/or sentencing

  • Any receipts regarding your case

    • Bond receipts

    • Cash bail receipts

  • Appearance letter and/or court documents

 

  • Do not use nicknames or an alias

    • Use the same spelling as listed on the documents related to the case and ensure spelling on the documents is correct, if they are not, please advise the court

 

  • Method of payment

    • Cash

    • Check

    • Credit card

    • Debit card

  • Proper identification

    • Driver's license

    • Passport

    • Texas ID

  • Provide the court with your current address and telephone number

  • Your copy of the citation

COURT ETIQUETTE

Appropriate dress 

  • No obscene slogans on clothing or hats

  • Shirt and shoes are required

  • No cell phones are allowed in the Municipal Court

FAILURE TO APPEAR

If you fail to appear in court as ordered, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest and you can be jailed and/or fined. For more information, comments or questions, please contact the Municipal Court at xxx-xxx-xxxx

COURTROOM STANDARDS

The Judge cannot speak to you about your case except when your case is being heard and the other party is present. The court staff will help you in any way they can regarding the process of your case(s) but cannot give any legal advice or recommendations on what you should do.

 

The Court operates with traditional formality. When you are representing yourself in Court you should act, dress, and speak in a way that helps your case. How you act is as important as how you look. You must be respectful of everyone in the Court. This includes the Judge, prosecutor, court staff, any other parties involved in the case, witnesses and other defendants.

The Court has a very busy schedule so you must be on time for the Judge. If you are late, your case may be postponed or you could be required to post bond for a new date. Make sure you bring all the court documents and information you need to support your case. It is important to have these documents readily available upon request from the Judge or court staff.

 

RULES

When in Court, please observe the following rules:

  • No weapons are permitted in the Municipal Court building.

  • Phones should be on silent/ vibrate while in the courtroom.

  • Do not approach the Judge, Prosecutor, or court staff until you case is called.

  • Use respect when speaking to the Judge, Prosecutor and court staff.  

  • Please remain quiet while the Judge is giving instructions and calling the docket.

  • Listen to all instructions given by the Judge before court.

  • No food or drink is allowed in the courtroom.

  • Avoid bringing small children to court. When you must, please monitor their behavior so they remain quiet at all times. Parents may be asked to leave the courtroom if their child becomes noisy or unruly.

  • Please wear suitable clothing.  Shirts with offensive slogans, language or pictures are not allowed.

  • Racist, Sexist obscene and profane language or gestures are strictly prohibited.

Juveniles

The Municipal Court has jurisdiction over juveniles 16 years of age and younger at the time of the offense who are charged with a Class C misdemeanor. All juveniles must appear in person with a parent or guardian for all proceedings in their cases.
 

Juveniles who fail to appear or resolve their cases will be reported to the Department of Public Safety, which will deny renewal of their driver's license. If they do not have a license, they will be unable to obtain one until they have satisfied all obligations to this court.

REQUIREMENTS

  • All juveniles must appear before the judge and be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  • All persons 17-21 years old who have been charged with an alcohol- or tobacco-related offense must appear in person before the judge.

FAILURE TO APPEAR

If you fail to appear in court as ordered, the court may issue a warrant for your arrest and you can be jailed and/or fined. For more information, comments or questions, please contact the Municipal Court at xxx-xxx-xxxx

https://www.dps.texas.gov/DriverLicense/failureToAppear.htm

Contact us 

City of Taft
501 Green Ave
PO Box 416
Taft, TX 78390
ph: (361) 528-3512
fax: (361) 528-3515

2020 City of Taft. All rights reserved.