Traffic Tickets

Self help resources:

www.texascourthelp.gov

www.sll.texas.gov

Fines and payments
Initiating a payment of your fine is the same as pleading no contest and waiving your right to a jury trial.  You will be found guilty and the conviction, if applicable, will be reported to the Department of Public Safety.

Payment extension
An extension may be granted by request either in person or by mail.  An extension is for 30 days only and no extra fees with be added.

Requests for community service
An appointment with the judge will have to be set for community service, request must be in writing.

Failure to pay by due date or late payments
If payments are not made by the stated appearance date a warrant for your arrest may be issued and/or the court may send a request to the Department of Public Safety to deny the renewal of your driver’s license.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR JUVENILES:  If you are under 17 years of age you must appear before a judge with a parent or guardian.  A court letter will be mailed to the parent or guardian.

Making a plea
After you are issued a traffic citation, you must enter a plea by the appearance date located at the bottom of your citation.  Your plea for each violation must be entered in writing, in person or by mail.  You have three options:

  1. Nolo Contendere (no contest)
  2. Guilty
  3. Not guilty

Nolo Contendere (no contest)
A plea of nolo contendere means that you do not contest the charges filed against you and you are waiving your right to a trial by judge or jury.  After you have entered a “no contest” plea, you generally have three options:

  1. Pay the fine specified for the violation.  Cashier’s checks, money orders are accepted by mail or in person.  Exact cash is accepted in person at the window, no change is made.  Credit card payments (Certified Payments) may be made online, by phone, or in person.  If you choose this option, you will be found guilty and the conviction will be reported to the Department of Public Safety and will be entered on your driving record.
  2. You may be eligible to have your ticket dismissed upon successful completion of a driving safety course.  You must respond on or before the stated appearance date with request form (Courtesy Letter / Reply Form), copy of driver’s license, copy of insurance, and money order or cashier’s check for $144.00.  Incomplete filings will be rejected.
  3. You may be eligible to have your ticket dismissed upon successful completion of deferred disposition.  You must request deferred by mail or in person.  Written request must be accompanied by payment in full.

Guilty
By entering a plea of guilty (Defendants Plea of Guilty or Nolo Form) , you admit that the act is prohibited by law, that you committed the act charged, and you’re waiving your right to a trial by judge or jury.  The same options apply as “no contest”.  If you choose this option, you will be found guilty and the conviction will be reported to the Department of Public Safety and will be entered on your driving record.

Not Guilty
A plea of not guilty (Defendants Plea of Not Guilty Form) means that you are informing the court that you are not guilty of the offense in which you were accused.  You must plead not guilty by the appearance date stated on your citation.  Upon receipt of your plea, the court will mail a court notice.  When entering a plea of not guilty please inform the court if you want a trial by judge or jury.

Bench and Jury Trials
To reset a bench trial your request must be made in writing 7 days in advance.  Jury trials will not be reset without an extreme reason.  If you request a trial you will first have to attend a scheduled pretrial conference with the prosecutor.  Failure to attend this pretrial conference will result in your case being set for a jury trial at a later date. 

Defensive Driving and Deferred Disposition
A request for defensive driving can be by mail or in person and must be submitted in a complete filing on or before stated appearance date on your citation.  Complete filing must include a copy of current Texas driver’s license or must be an active duty military service member or the dependent of an active service member, a copy of proof of financial responsibility, notarized request form (Courtesy Letter / Reply Form), and $144.00 money order or cashier’s check.

                Defendants are not eligible for defensive driving if:

  1. Defendant has a Commercial Driver’s License or had one at the time of the offense
  2. Speeding 95 or more per hour
  3. Speeding 25 or more over speed limit
  4. Offense is failure to stop and render aid after an accident
  5. Offense is failure to stop and exchange information after an accident
  6. Offense is overtaking or passing a school bus that is unloading
  7. Offense is committed in a work zone (construction zone) with worker’s present (except safety belt, safety seat, pedestrian, and inspection offenses) 
  8. Offense is a serious violation (defined by Section 522.003 (25) Texas Transportation Code
  9. Defendant has taken DSC in the previous twelve months, counting from the date the last course was taken to the date of the new offense.

Deferred Disposition

A request for deferred can be submitted by mail or in person.  Deferred Adjudication is a probation period of 90 days unless otherwise stated by the judge.  Defendant cannot have a commercial driver’s license.  If defendant is younger than age 25 the judge must, as a term of deferred, require the defendant to take a driver’s safety course.

Compliance Dismissals

Certain violations can be dismissed upon compliance, dismissal fine may apply, requirements must be submitted on or before appearance date stated on citation:

Expired driver’s license - submit copy of renewal along with $20 money order
Expired registration - submit copy of renewal with late penalty paid along with $20 money order
Fail to report change of address - submit copy of renewal along with $20 money order
Unauthorized use of glass coating material - submit copy of pictures depicting license plate and windows half down along with $10 money order

Other compliance dismissals are allowed, please call the court if your offense is not listed here.

What happens if I do not make a plea or ignore my ticket?

Failure to make a plea for each violation shown on your ticket by the stated appearance date may result in a denial to renew your driver’s license and/or a warrant for your arrest. 

Court-issued warrants

The court may issue a warrant when you fail to make a plea to violations shown on your ticket by the stated appearance date, when you fail to comply with the orders of a judge, when you do not complete a payment plan or fail to make payments as promised.

If you fail to make a plea the court may issue a warrant for your arrest (additional $50 fee), send a request to the Department of Public Safety to deny the renewal of your driver’s license (additional $10 fee), charge the standard fine amount, and refer your case to collection after 60 days (30% of balance due is added).

If you have appeared before a judge and have agreed to a payment plan, community service, deferred disposition, or other judicial orders, you must complete these orders as specified or a warrant will be issued for your arrest.

Your warrant may be cancelled if you plead “no contest” or “guilty” to the warrant charge and pay the fine.  If you want to plead “not guilty” to a charge after an arrest warrant has been issued, you must come to the court to post the required bond and to obtain a court date.

To find out whether you have an outstanding warrant, you may call our court 972-825-5030.  Please have your driver’s license or date of birth available.