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Municipal Court

Court Procedures

​​​​​​​​​The purpose of this page is to provide you with general information about court proceedings. If you have questions concerning the following information or need more detailed information, please contact the court at 972-304-3650.

 

COURT APPEARANCES

If you were issued a citation, your appearance date is written on the bottom of the citation. If you were released on bond, your appearance date is set on the bond. If you request a continuance (read the specific section titled Continuances), the court will notify you of your new appearance date. You and your attorney may appear in person in open court. (Minors/Juveniles have a separate set of rules for their appearance. Please read the separate section on Minors/Juveniles).

Your first appearance is to determine your plea. If you make your appearance by mail, the court must receive your plea before your scheduled appearance date. Before pleading guilty or no contest, read the section titled "Pleas". If you plead guilty or no contest, you waive a jury trial. If you waive a jury trial and plead guilty or nolo contendere (no contest), you may talk to the judge about extenuating circumstances that you want the judge to consider when setting your fine, but the judge is not required to reduce your fine. If you plead not guilty, the court will schedule a pre-trial hearing. You are entitled to a jury unless you waive that right. If you waive a trial by jury, the judge will hear your case.​

PLEAS

Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of Not Guilty, a trial is held. In all criminal trials, the State is required to prove the guilt of the defendant "beyond a reasonable doubt" of the offense charged in the complaint before a defendant can be found guilty by a judge or jury.

Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. Please consider each plea carefully before making a decision. If you plead guilty or nolo contendere in open court, you should be prepared to pay the fine, costs, and fees by cash, check, money order, or credit card.

1.  Plea of Guilty - You admit that the act is prohibited by law, and that you committed the act charged, and that you have no defense for your act. Before entering your plea of guilty, however, you should understand the following: 

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

​​​2.  Plea of Nolo Contendere (no contest) - You do not contest the State's charge against you. You will almost certainly be found guilty, unless you are eligible and successfully complete a court ordered deferred disposition or a driver's safety course. Also, a plea of nolo contendere cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages.

3.  Plea of Not Guilty - You deny guilt or that you have a defense in your case, and that the State must prove what it has charged against you. If you plead not guilty, you may or may not hire an attorney to represent you. You are entitled to a jury trial unless you waive that right. If you waive a trial by jury, the judge will hear your case. If you represent yourself, the section "Tri​als" will help you to understand trial procedure.

If you are not a citizen of the United States of America, a plea of guilty or nolo contendre for the offense charged may result in deportation, the exclusion from admission to this country, or the denial of naturalization under federal law.

DEFERRED DISPOSITION (PROBATION)


Your request for deferred disposition must be received by the court, either in person or in writing, before your appearance date. You must pre-pay the court-ordered fee and state costs in person or by mail. If your request is granted, you must comply with the terms ordered or your case will not be dismissed.

You are not eligible for deferred if you completed deferred disposition within 12 months of the offense, or the offense occurred in a construction zone with workers present, or if you held or currently hold a Commercial Driver's License and the offense relates to motor vehicle control.

If you are under age 25, you must complete a driving safety course as a condition of deferred disposition.

If you are under 25 and hold a provisional license, you must complete a driving safety course and be examined by the Department of Public Safety as a condition of deferred disposition.

 

DRIVING SAFETY COURSE

 DSC Request.pdf                     DPS Driver Record.pdf

If you are charged with an offense involving the operation of a motor vehicle, you may dismiss your case with the successful completion of a driving safety course. You must ask the judge before the appearance date on the citation, either in person or in writing through certified mail, to place you on deferred disposition to take a driving safety course. If you were operating a motorcycle and request a driving safety course, you must take a motorcycle operator training course. 

 
Please read all of the instructions and requirements on this page carefully.

You are eligible for a Driving Safety Course if:

  • You have a valid Non-CDL Texas Driver's License,
  • You have not already paid your fine which resulted in a final conviction in this case,
  • You have evidence of financial responsibility with your name listed (liability insurance),
  • You are not charged with speeding in excess of 24 miles per hour over the speed limit,
  • You are not charged with a violation occurring in a construction zone,
  • You have not taken a Driving Safety Course within the last 12 months (Calculated from the date of course completion to the date of your current citation).
  • The offense alleged is not one of the following offenses:
    • Failure to Give Information at Accident Scene;
    • Leaving Scene of Accident;
    • Fleeing or Attempting to Elude Police Officer;
    • Reckless Driving;
    • Passing a School Bus; or
    • A serious traffic violation as defined under Chapter 522, Transportation Code, which applies to drivers with commercial driver's licenses.

If you are eligible you may sign up for a Driving Safety Course by providing the following to the Court:

  1. Required fee: 
    Moving violations not occurring in School Zone - $ 114.10 
    Moving violations occurring in a School Zone  - $ 139.10
  2. A copy of your valid Texas Driver's License.
  3. A copy of your liability insurance card with your name listed or other evidence of the required financial responsibility.
  4. The Driving Safety Affidavit form above (completed) including both signed and notorized.   This document may be sworn to by a court clerk if submitted in person.

THE FOUR (4) ITEMS NUMBERED ABOVE MUST BE MAILED ON OR BEFORE YOUR DUE DATE. LATE OR INCOMPLETE REQUESTS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. A REPLY WILL BE MAILED TO THE ADDRESS YOU PROVIDE. IF YOU FAIL TO RECEIVE A RESPONSE WITHIN 2 WEEKS CALL THE COURT OFFICE. REMEMBER TO ENTER A PLEA ON THE REQUEST FORM.

Important: Your request must be received by the court on or before the response date at the bottom of your citation.

UPON COMPLETION OF THE COURSE:  Along with the certificate from your Driver's Safety Course, you are required by law to provide a copy of your driving record from the Texas DPS (you can print a form to mail in or complete the request online at Texas Department of Public Safety to immediately obtain a copy of your driving record).  NOTE: You must select option "3A" on the DPS mail in form or the DPS web site in order to obtain the required version of your driving record.  The Driver's Safety Certificate and the certified copy of your driving record must be submitted to the court within 90 days of the date on which the court approves your request to take the course.

A person who held at the time of the offense, or who currently holds a commercial driver's license is disqualified from taking a driving safety course. This ban applies regardless of whether the person was in a commercial or personal vehicle.

TRIALS

A trial in municipal court is a fair, impartial and public trial as in any other court. Under Texas law, you can be brought to trial only after a sworn complaint is filed against you. A complaint is the document which alleges which act you are supposed to have committed and that the act is unlawful. You can be tried only for what is alleged in the complaint. You have the following rights in court:

  • The right to inspect the complaint before trial and have it read to you at the trial;
  • The right to hire an attorney if you choose;
  • The right to have your case tried before a jury (a jury fee of $3.00 will apply);
  • The right to hear all testimony introduced against you;
  • The right to cross-examine any witness who testifies against you;
  • The right to testify in your behalf;
  • The right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal to testify cannot be held against you in determining your innocence or guilt; and
  • You may call witnesses to testify in your behalf at the trial, and have the court issue a subpoena (a court order) to any witnesses to ensure their appearance at the trial. The request for a subpoena must be in writing within 14 days prior to the trial date. A subpoena request may be obtained at the Municipal Court No. 1 office located at the Coppell Justice Center  - 130 Town Center Blvd. For additional information contact the court between 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday at 972-304-3650.

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. The judge will decide whether or not to grant your request. You are permitted to strike three members of the jury panel for any reason you choose, except an illegal reason (such as a strike based solely upon a person's race, gender, or religion).

CONTINUANCES

​If you request a continuance for your trial, you must swear in writing and submit it to the court with your reasons 3 days before trial. The judge will make a decision whether or not to grant the continuance. You may request a continuance for the following reasons:

 

  • A religious holy day where the tenets of your religious organization prohibit members from participating in secular activities such as court proceedings (you must file an affidavit with the court stating this information); or
  • ​Upon sufficient cause shown as determined by the Judge.

 

PRESENTING THE CASE AT TRIAL


In all criminal trials, the State will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you.

After prosecution witnesses have finished testifying, you have the right to cross-examine (you may ask the witnesses questions about their testimony or any other facts relevant to the case). You cannot, however, argue with the witness. Your cross examination of the witness must be in the form of questions only. You may not tell your version of the incident at this time - you will have an opportunity to do so later in the trial.

After the prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witness who knows anything about the offense. The State has the right to cross-examine any witness that you call.

You may testify in your own behalf, but as a defendant, you cannot be compelled to testify. It is your choice, and your silence cannot be used against you. If you do testify, the State has the right to cross-examine you.

After all testimony is concluded, both sides can make a closing argument. This is your opportunity to tell the court why you think that you are not guilty of the offense charged. The State has the right to present the first and last arguments. The closing argument can be based only on the evidence presented during the trial.

JUDGMENT/VERDICTS AFTER TRIAL


If the case is tried by the judge, the judge's decision is called a judgment. If the case is tried by a jury, the jury's decision is called a verdict.

In determining the defendant's guilt or innocence, the judge or jury can consider only the testimony of witnesses and any evidence admitted during the trial.

If you are found guilty by either the judge or jury, the fine will be announced at the time of the trial. Unless you plan to appeal your case, you should be prepared to pay the fine and court costs at this time.

A conviction of an offense under a traffic law of this state or political subdivision of this state may result in the assessment on your driver's license of a surcharge under the Driver Responsibility Program.

FINES

The amount of fine the court assesses is determined only by the facts and circumstances of the case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine, even if you are guilty. On the other hand, aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. The maximum fine for most traffic violations is $200; for state law violations--$500; for certain city ordinance violations--$2,000; and for other city ordinance violations--$500. For your fine amount, please contact our court clerk at 972-304-3650. 

COURT COSTS

In addition to a fine, court costs mandated by state and local law will be charged on each case for which you are convicted. The costs are different depending on the offense. You need to check with the clerk of the court for the amount that will be assessed for the violation for which you are charged. If you request a trial, you may have to also pay the costs of overtime paid to a peace officer spent testifying in the trial. If you request a jury trial, an additional fee of $3.00 will be assessed. If a warrant was served or processed by a peace officer, an additional $50 fee is also assessed.

Court costs are assessed if you are found guilty at trial, if you plead nolo contendere or guilty, if your case is deferred for a driving safety course, or if you receive deferred disposition. If you are found not guilty, court costs cannot be assessed.

EXP D.L, EXP MVI, EXP MVR 

Defendants charged with the offenses of Expired Driver's License, Expired Motor Vehicle Inspection, and Expired Motor Vehicle Registration, may, under certain circumstances be eligible to have the charge dismissed for a $20 fee.

 A charge of Expired Driver's License may be dismissed provided the defendant appears at the court on or before the due date, the license was expired less than 180 days at the time of the citation, the license was renewed within 20 working days of the date of the offense, and the defendant presents the renewed, temporary driver's license, issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A charge of Expired Motor Vehicle Inspection may be dismissed provided the defendant appears at the court on or before the due date, the Motor Vehicle Inspection was expired less than 60 days at the time of the citation, the vehicle was successfully inspected within 20 working days of the date of the offense, and the defendant presents the computer printout form indicating the vehicle passed inspection and the date the new inspection sticker was issued. 

A charge of Expired Motor Vehicle Registration may be dismissed provided the defendant appears at the court on or before the due date, the registration was expired less than 120 days at the time of the citation, the vehicle was registered within 20 working days of the date of the offense, the defendant has paid the "penalty fee" assessed by the Tax Assessor's Office, and the defendant presents the registration receipt form generated by the county Tax Assessors Office which contains the date of renewal, and the list of charges, to verify that the penalty fee was collected by the Tax Assessor's Office. 

Please note that regardless of the 20 working days to correct an expired Driver's License, inspection or Registraion, you MUST appear at the court on or before the due date printed on the citation. Please also know that dismissals are NOT granted by the court clerks. The application for dismissal is forwarded to the Municipal Judge for review and dismissal.

Failure to maintain financial responsibility

If you have received a citation for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility, or No Insurance, you may appear before the due date and time at the Municipal Court No. 1 office with your proof that you were insured on the date of the offense and your citation will be presented to the prosecutor for review. You will be required to complete a Motion to Dismiss Based on Evidence of Financial Responsibility. An insurance policy is proof of financial responsibility. 
A second or subsequent conviction of an offense under the Texas Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act will result in the suspension of your driver's license and motor vehicle registration unless you file and maintain evidence of financial responsibility with the Department of Public Safety for two years from the date of conviction.
The department may waive the requirement to file evidence of financial responsibility if you file satisfactory evidence with the department showing that at the time this citation was issued, the vehicle was covered by a motor vehicle liability insurance policy, or that you were otherwise exempt from the requirements to provide evidence of financial responsibility. Please contact your local DPS office for additional information on suspension of your driver's license.


 

NEW TRIALS


If you are found guilty, you may make a motion to the court for a new trial. The motion must be made within ten days after a judgment of guilty has been rendered against you. The judge may, for good cause, grant a new trial if the judge considers that justice has not been done in the trial of your case. Only one new trial may be granted for each offense.

APPEALS


If you are found guilty and are not satisfied with the judgment of the court, you have the right to appeal your case to an appropriate appellate court. Coppell Municipal Court No. 1 is a court of record. An appeal will typically be limited to a review of the trial court's record to determine whether legal error exists, which will justify overturning the conviction. Appeals must comply with the procedures and requirements set forth in Chapter 30 of the Texas Government Code. There are a number of different requirements that must be satisfied. The court clerks are not authorized to give legal advice and due to the complexity of the appellate process, you are encouraged to seek the advice of your attorney if you seek to appeal a judgment or verdict.

MINORS/JUVENILES

The municipal court has jurisdiction over juveniles (16 years or younger) charged with Class C misdemeanor offenses or under 17 (tobacco cases) or under 21 (alcohol cases). All minors are required to appear in open court for all proceedings in their cases. The parent, guardian or managing conservator of any minor under age 17 charged in municipal court is required to be present in court with his or her child. Minors who fail to appear or who fail to pay their fine will be reported to the Department of Public Safety who will suspend their driver's license. Minors who do not have a driver's license will not be able to obtain one until they resolve their pending case. The court may also issue a warrant of non-secure custody, or hold the minor in contempt of court or refer them to Juvenile Court. 

Teen Court

A minor attending high school or under the age of 18 may request to complete a Teen Court program, which will allow the charge to be dismissed, if certain conditions are met (read the Teen Court  section).

MIP of Alcohol

Any defendant charged with the offense of Minor in Possession of Alcohol or Driving Under the Influence, who is under the age of 18 at the time of the offense, is required to be present with a parent or legal guardian to both set the court date, and to appear in open court. If the defendant is convicted of the offense, the Judge will order completion of an Alcohol Awareness Course, as well as community service, both of which must be completed within the 90 days following the judgment.

MIP of Tobacco

Any defendant charged with Minor in Possession of Tobacco or Smoking in a Prohibited Facility, who is under the age of 18 at the time of the offense is required to be present with a parent or legal guardian to both set the court date, and to appear in open court. If a plea of Guilty or No Contest is entered, the Judge will order completion of a Tobacco Awareness Course, which must be completed within 90 days.

DROP BOX

For your convenience, the Court has a 24-hour payment drop box located in the lobby of the Justice Center at 130 Town Center Blvd. Coppell, TX. Payments received after 2pm will be credited to the next business day. Envelopes are provided to insert your payment. For your protection, do not insert cash in the drop box. Insufficient or late payment will not clear pending warrants.
If you pay and do not request Deferred Disposition, a final conviction will be entered.

PAYMENT BY CREDIT CARD

Please visit the Payment O​ptions​ page for information on paying your fine by credit card in person or by telephone.
If you pay by credit card, a final conviction will be entered. If you request Deferred Disposition, you must request it from the clerk.

SMALL CLAIMS COURT

The Coppell Municipal Court does NOT handle civil cases. For small claims court, please contact the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4-2, at 972-259-1669.

COURT RECORDS

Records of judiciary, including the Coppell Municipal Court No. 1 are not subject to the provisions of the Public Information Act. However, if you would like to view court records, you may make your request from the Coppell Municipal Court No. 1 between 8 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. You will be required to complete a request form, and you will be notified at the time the records are available for your review. Copies will be charged 10 cents per page up to 50 pages. For additional information on certified copies, contact the Municipal Court at 972-304-3650. Record checks for military purposes require advanced notice of three business days.

A conviction of an offense under a traffic law of this state or political subdivision of this state may result in the assessment on your driver's license of a surcharge under the Driver Responsibility Program. 

Carrying a concealed handgun on the premises of any Coppell city government facility is illegal.​