The Trial

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 what 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.

Rights in Court

You have the following rights in court:

  • The right to inspect the complaint before a trial and have it read to you at the trial
  • The right to have your case tried before a jury
  • 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 cannot be held against you in determining your innocence or guilt
  • 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 should be in writing, at the time you enter your plea, and include all names and addresses

Jury Trials

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 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 desire, except an illegal reason (such as a strike based solely upon a person’s race, sex, or age).