Located near the bottom right of your citation is an Appear on or
before date. This date is approximately 10 days from the date of
your citation. You will need to make an appearance date. If you are
a juvenile (under the age of 17) please refer to the Juvenile section
to handle your citation. You may take care of your citation(s) at the
Court office during business hours, if you do not wish to appear
before the Judge. If you fail to make an appearance with the Court
on or before your appearance date, a Failure to Appear charge will
be issued and it may result to denial of renewal of your driver’s
license or a warrant for your arrest to be issued.
I Received a Citation
Plea

You have three options of how to plea: Guilty, Nolo Contendere
(No Contest), and Not Guilty.

Guilty: A plea of guilty is admitting that you violated the law and
have no defense or excuse for committing this act.

Before entering a plea of guilty, you should understand the
following:

The State has the burden of proof of proving that you violated the
law (the law does not require that you prove you did not violate the
law); you have the right to hear the State's evidence and to require
the State to prove you violated the law; and
A plea of guilty may be used against you later in a civil suit if there
was a traffic accident (another party can say you were at fault or
responsible for the accident because you pled guilty to the traffic
charge).


Nolo Contendere (No Contest): A Nolo Contendere plea means
that you do not contest the State’s charge against you. Unless you
are eligible and successfully complete a Defensive Driving course
or Court ordered probation, you will almost certainly be found
Guilty. A plea of no contest cannot be used against you in a
subsequent civil suit for damages.

Not Guilty: A Not Guilty plea is informing the Court that you deny
guilt or that you have a good defense in your case and the State
must prove what it has charged against you. You will next need to
decide if you want to hire an attorney. You have the right to have
an attorney represent you, but the Court is not required to provide
you with an attorney.



Juveniles

All juveniles are required to appear in Court for all proceedings in
their case. A juvenile is anyone under the age of 17. The juvenile
and their parent or guardian must appear at the Garrett Municipal
Court office during office hours and request a court date. A parent
or guardian of the juvenile must also appear at the scheduled
court date with his or her child. Additional charges for Failure to
Appear, Parent’s Failure to Appear with Child at Hearing, and
Failure to Provide Written Notice of Current Address against the
juvenile defendant and the parent or guardian will be filed if the
parent or guardian and juvenile do not appear and do not keep a
current address with the court to notify the juvenile and their
parent or guardian of appearance dates with the Court.

Below is Article 45.057(h) and (i) of the Code of Criminal
Procedures. As of September 1, 2003 a juvenile and their parent
have a continuing obligation to appear and keep a current address
with the Court until the final disposition of the citation.

(h) A child and parent required to appear before the court have an
obligation to provide the court in writing with the current address
and residence of the child. That obligation does not end when the
child reaches age 17. On or before the seventh day after the date
the child or parent changes residence, the child or parent shall
notify the court of the current address in the manner directed by
the court. A violation of this subsection may result in arrest and is
a Class C misdemeanor. The obligation to provide notice
terminates on discharge and satisfaction of the judgment or final
disposition not requiring a finding of guilt.

(i) If an appellate court accepts an appeal for a trial de novo, the
child and parent shall provide notice under Subsection (h) to the
appellate court.

Failure to comply with this statue will result in additional charges
to be filed with the court and the juvenile will be eligible for arrest
upon his or her 17th birthday for Failure to Appear.



Dismissal

Some tickets may be able to be dismissed by the Court without
appearing at your Court date. The following can be dismissed with
certain documentation:

• No Insurance
• Expired Driver’s License
• Expired License Plate Registration
• Expired Vehicle Inspection Sticker
• Failure to Change Address on Driver’s License within 30 days
• Failure to Display Driver’s License

No Insurance: A citation for Failure to Maintain Financial
Responsibility may be dismissed at no charge if shown on or
before your original court date.

Expired DL, Expired LP, Expired Registration, Vehicle
Inspection Sticker, Failure to Change Address on Driver’s
License:
A citation for Expired Driver’s License, Expired License
Plate (Registration), or Expired Inspection Sticker
(not expired
more than 60 days)
, and Failure to Change Address on Driver’s
License may be dismissed for a $20.00 Administration Fee if the
Defendant complies with the following requirements:

The violation is corrected within 10 working days of the
original
court date
;
The Defendant pays the $20.00 Administration Fee for dismissal.

If the correction is made
after 10 working days the full price of the
citation will be due or a court date can be scheduled to discuss
your case with the Judge.

Appeals

If you file a Motion for New Trial and it is denied or you are found
guilty, and are not satisfied with the judgment of the court you still
have the right to appeal the decision to the Ellis County Court of
Appeals. If you wish to appeal, you have 10 days from the date of
the original judgment to post an appeal bond in the amount equal
to double the assessed fine and a Motion for Appeal. The court
does not provide you with any of these forms. The process
necessary to appeal can be complicated and it is strongly
recommended you hire an attorney.

Payment Plan

A payment plan may be granted to pay your citations out over a
period of time. The time frame will depend on the amount of your
citation(s). There will be a $25.00 Time Payment Fee added
to each
violation that is placed on the Payment Plan. The Defendant must
file a payment plan form. (
Click for Payment Plan form)
If you fail to keep this payment plan it may result in payment in
full, citation being sent to a collection agency and/or warrant
issued for your arrest.

Any late or incomplete request will be denied. If your payment is
not made in the 30-day period a $25.00 Time Payment Fee will be
assessed and due per the below section of the Government Code.

Section 51.921(a)(1), and (2) of the Government Code states that
"in addition to other fees authorized or required by law, the clerk of
each district court, statutory court, county court, justice court, and
municipal court shall collect a fee of $25.00 from a person who has
been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and pays any part of a
fine, court costs, or restitution on or after the 31st day after the
date on which a judgment is entered assessing the fine, court
costs, or restitution." This fee will be added in advance if the
Defendant chooses a pay out plan or on or after the 31st day if the
Defendant fails to make full payment on their fine by the 30th day.

Failure to Appear

If you fail to appear on your citation in person, by mail, or by
attorney on or before your appearance date on your citation (10
business days from the issued date), a Failure to Appear may be
assessed to each citation and an additional fee will be due on each
citation. A warrant for your arrest may be issued at any point after
the Failure to Appear has been assessed or you may result in
denial of renewal.

Deferred Disposition (Probation)

With a plea of guilty or no contest, you may be eligible for deferred
disposition, more commonly known as probation.  

As of September 1, 2003 you are not eligible for Deferred
Disposition if you possess a Class A or B driver’s license, even if
you are in a personal vehicle.

You are eligible if:

1.      You have a Class C Texas Driver’s License;
2.      You are not currently participating in Deferred Disposition in
another Texas jurisdiction; and
3.      You have not received a citation for a traffic violation in a
construction zone. (Pedestrian, Inspection, and Seatbelt violations
are eligible)

If you meet the eligibility requirements listed above, you may
request Deferred Disposition in person or through the mail (See
Printable Forms – Request for Deferred Disposition).  You will have
30-days to pay the deferral amount.

If you request deferred disposition by mail, you will receive
paperwork regarding your request from the court advising if you
have been granted deferred.

Comply with the following conditions ordered by the Judge.
Submit sworn affidavit to court upon completion of probation.
Commit no offense against the laws of the State or any other State
of the United States; and
Pay the adjusted fee within 30-days.

At the end of your probation, your case will be reviewed and if you
have successfully completed all of the probation requirements the
Judge will dismiss your citation and it will not be reported to the
Department of Public Safety or appear on your driving record.

Defensive Driving

In some cases the Defendant may be able to complete a Driver’s
Safety Course (DSC). You may be eligible if:

• You have been charged with a traffic offense under the Subtitle C,
Transportation Code;
• You have not taken a DSC within the last 12 months prior to the
date of the traffic offense;
• You have a valid Texas Class C driver’s license;
• You have proof of financial responsibility (Insurance)
• You are not currently taking a course for another violation;
• You have not committed on of the following offenses: Speeding
25 mph over the speed limit; Failure to give information at the
accident scene; Leaving the scene of an accident; Fleeing or
attempting to elude police officers; Reckless driving; or Passing a
school bus.

As of September 1, 2003 you are not eligible for Deferred
Disposition if you possess a Class A or B driver’s license, even if
you are in a personal vehicle.
If you meet the eligibility requirements listed above, you may
request a Driver’s Safety Course in person or through the mail (see
Printable Forms) on or before your appearance date.  You must
pay the $109.10 at the time of the request. You may not attend a
Driver’s Safety Course until your request has been granted by the
Court. If granted, your case will be suspended for 90 days for you
to attend a DSC, obtain a copy of your driving record from the
State and return your driving record and course completion
certificate to the Court. (The Court will provide you with a form to
send to the State to request your driving record or you may
request a copy online at TexasOnline.com -record type 3A only)
There is a $10 fee to obtain your record from the State (additional
fees for obtaining a copy online). You may attend any class that is
approved by the Texas Education Agency. If you do not complete
the course by your due date, you will need to pay the remaining
balance


Contact the Garrett Municipal Court Staff. We are here to help!
Phone: 972 875-1136
Honorable Judge
Sue Schmidt