Definition of a Trial
A trial in municipal court is fair, impartial, and public. Under Texas law, you can be brought to trial only after a sworn complaint is filed against you.
Proceedings of a Jury Trial
If you choose to have the case tried before a jury, you have the right to question jurors about their qualifications to hear your case. If you think that a juror will not be fair, impartial, or unbiased, you may ask the judge to excuse the juror. You are also permitted to strike three members of the jury panel for any reason you choose, except an illegal reason. If you need a continuance for your trial, a written request must be submitted to the court seven days prior to trial.
Testifying of Witnesses
The state will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify. You have the right to cross-examine and ask the witnesses questions about their testimony or any other facts relevant to the case. Your cross examination must be in the form of questions only.
Presenting Your Case
After the prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witness who may possess information about the incident. The state has the right to cross-examine any witness you call. If you so desire, you may testify in your own behalf. As a defendant, you cannot be compelled to testify by the state. The state has the right to cross-examine, should you choose to testify.
Judgment / Verdict
If the case is tried by the judge, the decision is called a judgment. If the case is tried by a jury, the decision is called a verdict. The judge or jury can consider only the testimony of witnesses and any evidence admitted during testimony of the trial. If either the judge or jury finds you guilty, the penalty will be announced at the conclusion of the trial. Unless you plan to appeal your case, you should be prepared to pay the fine at this time.
If you are found guilty, you may make an oral or written motion to the court for a new trial. The judge may grant a new trial if the judge is persuaded that justice has not been done in the trial of your case. You must file your request with the court within 24 hours.
For More Information
If you have any questions or would like more details, please contact the Municipal Court at 972.874.3370.