Making a Court Appearance

Adult Appearances
If you have received a citation (from a peace officer or through the mail along with a court summons) or been released from jail on a personal bond for a Class C misdemeanor, you must decide what to do with the charge pending against you and let the Court know. This is called “entering an appearance.”

  • You can appear by mail or in person at the Court.
  • You cannot appear by telephone.
  • For a citation issued by a peace officer, you must appear between 5 and 14 days from the date of the citation.
  • If you have received a summons or been released from jail on a personal bond, you must appear on or before the date specified in the summons or bond documents.
  • When entering an appearance, you may:
    • Plead not guilty and request a trial setting before a judge or a jury;
    • Plead not guilty and make an appointment with the Prosecutor to discuss deferred disposition or another plea agreement;
    • Request a hearing in front of the judge to discuss mitigating circumstances or a lower fine amount;
    • Plead guilty or no contest to your traffic citation and sign up for defensive driving; or
    • Plead guilty or no contest and make payment arrangements for your citation, including payment in full, payment plans, and payment through community service hours.
You have the right to a trial before a jury (or, if you choose to waive a jury, before the judge). At trial, the State has the burden of proving the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

Mitigating Circumstances
Sometimes a person may not wish to contest a case, but would like to present reasons for a fine that is lower than the standard fine for the offense. This is known as Mitigating Circumstances. In this case a person must enter an appearance before the judge in the courtroom and explain these circumstances. Call (940) 761-7880 to schedule an appointment to see the judge.

Juvenile Appearances
State law requires persons under 17 years of age to answer charges against them by appearing before the judge in open court with a parent or guardian. Persons under 18 years of age must also appear before the judge to answer to alcohol-related citations. The Municipal Court will send a summons to the parent or guardian of the juvenile specifying the date and time that both the juvenile and the parent or guardian must appear in court. If you have questions about the date of your required appearance, please call (940) 761-7880.

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