Municipal Court General Procedures

Pleas | Trial | Judgment/Verdic

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.

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. You are also permitted to strike three members of the jury panel for any reason you choose, except an illegal reason. If you need a continuance for your trial, you must put the request in writing and submit it to the court with your reasons prior to trial.

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

After the prosecution witnesses have finished testifying, you have the right to cross-examine. In other words, you may ask the witnesses questions about their testimony or any other facts relevant to the case. Your cross-examination of each witness must be in the form of questions only.

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 incident. The State has the right to cross-examine any witness that you call.

If you so desire, you may testify on your own behalf, but as a defendant, you cannot be compelled to testify. The State has the right to cross-examine you, should you choose to testify.

Once all testimony is concluded, both sides can make a closing argument. The closing argument can be based only on the testimony presented during the trial.