Preparing for Court
This notice is furnished to you by the Judge of the Buda Municipal Court, Texas to assist you in making disposition of the charge(s) filed against you.
Your signature on the citation you received is not a plea of guilty. You have the right to a jury trial. You may waive that right to a jury trial and have a trial before the Judge. If you plead guilty, no contest, or were found guilty at trial, a guilty conviction is entered and is reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety and may reflect on your driving record.
The law requires that you appear in person or by mail or pay the fine on or before your court date. If you were issued a citation, your appearance date is noted on the citation. If you have been released on bond, you are required to appear in court on or before the 10th day following your release (weekends and holidays not included in the 10 days). You or your attorney may appear in person in open court or by mail.
YOUR FIRST APPEARANCE IS TO DETERMINE YOUR PLEA.
Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. You should read the following explanation of the three types of pleas and think carefully before making your decision.
PLEA OF GUILTY
By entering a plea of guilty you admit that the act is prohibited by law, that you committed the act charged, and that you have no defense or excuse for your act. Before entering your plea of guilty, you should understand the following:
- The State has the burden of proving you violated 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 damages were incurred as a result of your actions.
A plea of nolo contendere means that you do not contest the State's charge against you. A plea of nolo contendere cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages.
IF YOU WISH TO ENTER A PLEA OF GUILTY or NOLO CONTENDERE (no contest), please refer to the Fines/Court Costs to determine the total amount assessed against you. Please make sure you enter your plea on the plea form. Make your remittance by check, cashier’s check, or money order to the Buda Municipal Court. Return your signed plea form and a copy of your citation with your remittance to assure proper credit.
PLEA OF NOT GUILTY
A plea of not guilty means that you are informing the Court that you deny guilt or that you have a good defense for your case. On a plea of not guilty, a formal trial is held. As in all criminal trials, the State is required to prove the guilt of the defendant "beyond a reasonable doubt." You have a choice of a trial by judge or a jury trial. If you prefer a trial by judge, you must sign a form waiving your right to a jury trial.
IF YOU WISH TO ENTER A PLEA OF NOT GUILTY and desire a trial, you must indicate by mail or in person by your appearance date shown on your citation. You will be notified by return mail of the court date set for your hearing
If you plead not guilty, you will need to decide whether to employ an attorney to represent you at the trial. You may defend yourself, but no one other than an attorney may represent you.
If you choose to represent yourself, you must be prepared. The court staff, prosecuting attorney or judge cannot act as your attorney by providing legal advice or assistance in the presentation of your case.
The pre-trial setting is your opportunity to be apprised of the charges against you and to consider your options. The prosecutor meets with you to review the case. Depending on the circumstances, the prosecutor may offer deferred adjudication or a driver's safety course and may offer to reduce the fine or fee. If no agreement can be reached, the case will be set for trial.
The amount of fine the court assesses is determined only by the facts and circumstances of the case. The maximum fine for most municipal court traffic violations is $200; for penal violations, $500; for certain city ordinance violations, $2000; and for other city ordinance violations, $500. Fines are payable by cash, check, money order and MasterCard or Visa . A 24-hour depository box is also available for your convenience on the southwest corner of City Hall. Documents submitted to the Court through the 24-hour depository box will be date stamped "received" on the following business day.
If you are found guilty of an offense, mandated state court costs are included in the amount due. These charges vary according to the offense. Court costs are applicable to defensive driving, deferred adjudication or probation.
If you fail to respond to the charge(s) filed against you by the date given on your citation, an additional charge may be filed against you for Violate Promise to Appear, and warrants will be issued for your arrest. A warrant fee of $50.00 will be assessed on each charge for executing or processing the warrant. Renewal of your driver’s license may also be denied.
TELEPHONE CALLS DO NOT CONSTITUTE AN APPEARANCE BEFORE THE COURT.