>I received a citation. Now what do I do?
You must make an appearance for your case. The date of your initial appearance is shown on your citation. You (or your attorney) may appear in person on your appearance date, or appear by mail or online. In municipal court, most defendants represent themselves but you may hire an attorney if you wish. For this appearance, also called an Arraignment, you will provide a plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty.
>What if I can’t make it for my appearance date or do not want to go to Open Court for my case?
If you are a juvenile (under age 17), you must attend open court and bring a parent or guardian with you. If you intend to plea not guilty, you also must attend open court. But, if you would rather not attend court and handle your case outside of court with a plea of guilty or no contest, you can stop by the Caddo Mills Municipal Court Clerk’s office or mail in your fine and court costs (see the office address and hours in the right sidebar). If the fine and court costs do not appear on your citation info. sheet, then call the Court Clerk to find out that amount. You may also pay online.
Requesting a Reset Court Date: If you do not mail in your plea of no contest or guilty (or do not pay online), call the Court Clerk right away and explain why you cannot make your appearance date. In most instances, the Court Clerk can get a reset of your appearance date to the next scheduled Open Court date.
Missing a Court Date: If you miss your scheduled court appearance, expect to receive a Show Cause Notice in the mail with a summons to appear in court to “show cause” as to why you did not appear for your original appearance date. If you fail to appear for your Show Cause Hearing (or do not call the Court Clerk to request a reset), your case will be put in line for an Arrest Warrant. So, it’s very important to handle your case by the court appearance date via mail/online or make a call to the Court Clerk beforehand to request a reset if you cannot attend as scheduled.
>How are a plea of guilty, no contest, and not guilty different?
Plea of Guilty: By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the offense charged.
Plea of Nolo Contendere (No Contest): A plea of nolo contendere is more commonly known as a plea of no contest. It means that you do not contest the State’s charge against you. It is treated similar to a plea of guilty by the court except that you are not openly admitting guilt to the charge.
Plea of Not Guilty (or if you say nothing during your Arraignment): A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt and require the State to prove the charge. A plea of not guilty does not waive any of your rights. A plea of not guilty does not prevent your from changing your plea later to guilty or no contest. The case will be set for the next trial docket (usually on a 90-day cycle). You may waive a jury trial and request a bench trial (before the judge alone). Prior to your trial, a Pre-trial Setting will occur where the State’s Prosecutor will discuss the case with you.
The difference between a plea of guilty and no contest is that an no contest plea may not later be used against you in a civil suit for damages. For example, in a civil suit arising from a traffic crash, a guilty plea in this court can be used as evidence of your responsibility or fault.
If you plead guilty or no contest, the court enters a plea of guilt, and you should be prepared to pay the fine and court costs. A plea of guilty or no contest waives all of your trial rights. With a plea of guilty or no contest (and waiver of jury trial), the judge may hear the details of your case which may or may not affect the fine and/or punishment.
You have up to 31 days from the time you are notified of the fine/court costs to pay it or file an appeal bond with the Court.
>I want to talk to the judge about my case. When can I do that?
A judge is not allowed by law to hear the details from anyone about your case, including you, until after Arraignment with a plea of guilty or no contest. To do so would be prohibited ex parte communications. If a plea of not guilty is entered, the judge cannot discuss the case and must wait until trial to hear the details of your case in the course of trial proceedings.
>How are fines and costs calculated or assessed?
The court’s municipal judge sets the fine based upon the facts and circumstances of the case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine, and aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. The maximum fine amount allowed for most traffic violations is $200. For most other violations of State law or city ordinances, the maximum fine is $500. For fire safety, health, zoning, and sanitation ordinances violations, the maximum fine is $2,000.
The municipal court judge does not establish court costs. Those are set by the State of Texas and vary for different offenses. If you go to trial, you my have to pay the costs of overtime paid to a peace officer spent testifying at trial. If you request a jury trial and are convicted, a $3 jury is assessed. If a warrant was served or processed, a $50 warrant fee is also assessed. If you do not pay the whole fine and costs within 30 days of the court’s judgment, then the State requires payment of an additional $15 time payment reimbursement fee (revised under recent legislation). Court costs are only assessed if you are found guilty at trial, if you plead guilty or no contest, or if you are granted deferred disposition or a driving safety course (see next page on this website for details). If you are found not guilty or the case is dismissed, court costs are not assessed.
>When is it possible to get a case dismissed?
The judge may not dismiss a case unless the State of Texas Prosecutor requests a dismissal and then the judge decides whether to approve that motion. There are exceptions to this for successfully completed deferred adjudication or driving safety courses as well as for “Compliance Dismissals” such as inspection, registration, failure to maintain financial responsibility, license plates, drivers license, change of address, defective equipment, expired certificates or placards (See TMCEC Compliance Dismissal Chart, below, for details and fees).
CADDO MILLS MUNICIPAL COURT
2313 Main St., Caddo Mills, TX 75135
Box 490, Caddo Mills, TX 75135
Monday - Thursday, 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Closed on all legal holidays
2313 Main St., Caddo Mills, TX 75135
PO Box 490, Caddo Mills, TX 75135
Closed on all legal holidays
Prepared by the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center
This summary and information on this webpage are designed to provide information about criminal court proceedings. Nothing herein is a substitute for legal advice from a licensed attorney. If you have questions about your best course of action, what plea you should enter, your rights, or the consequence of a conviction of the offense for which you are charged, you should contact an attorney. Neither the clerk, judge, nor prosecutor can give you legal advice.
Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The State must prove you guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the offense with which you are charged. Every criminal defendant has the right to remain silent and refuse to testify (without consequences). You have the right to retain an attorney and have them try your case or answer your questions. Since offenses in this court are punishable only by fine and not by incarceration, you do not have the right to appointed counsel.
You have the right to a jury trial. You may waive a jury trial and have a trial before the judge, commonly called a “bench trial.” If you elect to represent yourself, no person other than an attorney can assist you during a trial.
At trial you have many rights including:
1) The right to have notice of the complaint not later than the day before any proceedings in the prosecution;
2) The right to inspect the complaint before trial, and have it read to you at the trial;
3) The right to hear all testimony introduced against you;
4) The right to cross-examine witnesses who testify against you;
5) The right to testify on your own behalf;
6) The right not to testify (Your refusal to do so may not be held against you in determining your innocence or guilt.); and
7) You may call witnesses to testify on 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.