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Local Rules of the New Braunsfels Municipal Court
It is intended that these Rules be construed consistent with Article 45.001 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. Furthermore, these Rules may be amended from time to time so as to be consistent with State and Federal law and the Ordinances of the City of New Braunfels.
BE IT KNOWN that on this 25th day of August, 2011, the Municipal Court of the City of New Braunfels, Texas has adopted its RULES OF COURT in order to provide efficiency, uniformity and fairness in conducting the business of this Court and that these Rules of Court shall take effect on September 1, 2011.
RULE 1. COURTROOM DECORUM
. The Court is charged with the responsibility of maintaining proper order and decorum. Accordingly, the Court shall require all litigants, jurors, witnesses, attorneys, and others with whom the judge deals in an official capacity, to conduct and dress themselves in a manner deemed fitting and respectable.
. No one may talk while the judge is talking. When the judge is not speaking, talking is allowed in the courtroom; however, it cannot be loud, profane or disruptive in any manner.
. Participants will address others respectfully.
. No food or drink may be brought into the courtroom except with permission of the judge.
. There shall be no chewing of gum while in the courtroom.
. No hats, bandanas, do-rags, or any head covering shall be worn in the courtroom.
. Shorts, very short dresses or skirts, halter tops, muscle shirts, undershirts, t-shirts with indecent, profane, obscene words, language, graphics or illustrations, or gang related clothing are PROHIBITED (NOT ALLOWED) in the courtroom.
(a) All electronic devices are
in the courtroom. If an electronic device is brought into the courtroom, the electronic device shall be confiscated by the bailiff or warrant officer and will only be returned at the end of the Court’s proceedings. Further, the individual may be held in contempt of court, which could result in a $100.00 fine and/or 3 days in jail.
(b) Attorneys may bring an electronic device into the courtroom; however, it must be turned off during any court proceeding. If an attorney needs to use his/her electronic device, the attorney shall leave the courtroom to use the device in the lobby of the Municipal Court except when speaking with a clerk about a reset or with the express consent of a judge.
. Absolutely no weapons of any type shall be brought into the courtroom except by commissioned peace officers or those intended to be offered as evidence.
. Any violation of Rule 1 can result in a reprimand by the judge, expulsion from the courtroom or being held in contempt of court.
RULE 2. ENTRY OF A PLEA
. The purpose of defendants personally appearing in court is to apprise the defendants of their Constitutional Rights. At this appearance, a defendant may enter a plea of not guilty, no contest (nolo contendere), or guilty. If the plea is no contest or guilty, the defendant may give an explanation in mitigation of any fine to be assessed prior to the judge assessing a fine. If a not guilty plea is entered, the case will be set for a pre-trial hearing at a later date. An individual is to appear before the Court on or before the date that is written on a citation or if there is no date on the citation, the date that a defendant is summoned to appear in Court or receives a notice from the court.
. All pleas shall be in writing except for pleas entered in open court before a judge. A fine payment shall constitute a plea of no contest (nolo contendere) as allowed by law.
Plea by mail (ADULTS ONLY)
. If a defendant decides to enter a plea by mail, the plea is to be received by the appearance date on the citation or notice/summons. The date the mailed plea is received by the clerk’s office shall be designated as the filing date of any plea. A mailed plea should be received by the date of the citation or by the date of appearance as directed on the summons or letter from the court clerk’s office.
Change of plea before trial
. If the court receives a plea of either no contest or guilty and waiver of trial at least three (3) business days before the scheduled trial date, the court shall dispose of the case without requiring defendant to appear in court on his trial date.
Plea by fax
. The date of receipt of a fax by the clerk’s office shall be designated as the date of filing of any plea. The original paperwork shall be mailed to the court within ten (10) business days.
. A defendant who does not enter his/her plea by mail or fax as noted above and who is not represented by an attorney, is required to personally appear at all court settings. If a defendant fails to appear as required, a warrant may be issued for his/her arrest.
. An attorney who represents a defendant shall give the court written notice of his/her representation. The notice shall contain the client’s name, the charge, citation number, date of violation and plea.
. A request for a language interpreter must be made in writing at the time a plea is entered.
. Any requests for visual or audio aids are required to be made in writing at least one (1) business day prior to trial so that arrangements can be made for the proper equipment to be available.
2B. Court Appearance of Juveniles (under 17) Required.
2.B.1. A defendant who is under the age of 17
appear before a judge in open court with a parent or legal guardian to enter his/her plea.
2.B.2. A defendant who is under the age of 17 and is represented by an attorney
appear before a judge in open court with a parent or legal guardian to enter his/her plea.
2.B.3. If a juvenile appears without his parent or legal guardian, the case will be reset for another appearance date as a judge is prohibited by law from accepting a plea from the juvenile without the juvenile’s parent or guardian being present.
2C. Court Appearance of Minors (17 to 21) with Tobacco or Alcohol Violations.
. A minor (under 18) who is charged with a tobacco violation MUST personally appear in Court, even if represented by an attorney.
(a) A juvenile (under 17), MUST personally appear before a judge in open court with a parent or legal guardian to enter his/her plea, even if the juvenile is represented by an attorney.
(b) A minor (17 or over, but under 21) is not required to personally appear in Court to enter a plea of not guilty or no contest; however the minor is required by law to personally appear in Court to enter a plea of guilty. If the minor is represented by an attorney, the minor is not required to personally appear with his/her attorney before a judge in open court to enter a plea of not guilty or no contest. If the minor is entering a plea of guilty, then the minor MUST personally appear in Court, even if represented by an attorney. Sec. 106.10, Texas Alcohol and Beverage Code.
2D. Court Appearance of State’s Attorney Required.
At least one prosecuting attorney shall be present at each pre-trial and trial docket to represent the State.
RULE 3. NOTICE
. It is the responsibility of all persons with business before the court to:
(a) determine the date, time and nature of each setting of his/her case(s) and
(b) update or notify the court of any change of address and telephone number.
. Notice of the date, time and nature of each setting shall be given to each party in writing, in person, or by mail, to the last known address of a party or counsel.
. A copy of the complaint will be made available to the defendant or counsel at least one day prior to trial.
. Reliance upon verbal representation made by a court clerk or any other court personnel concerning any matter shall not be considered grounds for a continuance, setting aside of a warrant or any other relief. A peace officer’s verbal statement(s) regarding disposition or any other matter concerning an offense filed in this court is not binding upon the court.
RULE 4. PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE
. All cases in which a defendant or his attorney has entered a plea of “not guilty” shall be set for a pre-trial conference with the prosecutor.
. All defendants and/or their attorneys shall attend the pre-trial conference. If a defendant or defendant’s attorney of record fails to appear for his/her pre-trial conference, the Court may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. If an attorney fails to appear, the arrest warrant will be issued in the Defendant’s name. Further, the defendant will be required to post a cash bond or attorney bond in the total amount of the fine, court costs and any other fees unless the defendant or defense attorney can show good cause for his failure to appear at the pre-trial conference.
. Attorneys cannot discuss cases that are not on the pre-trial docket UNLESS both the court administrator and prosecutor approve the addition of any unscheduled pre-trial cases.
. At the pre-trial conference the defendant and/or attorney will be given an opportunity to speak with the prosecutor and the State’s attorney shall make the defendant or defendant’s attorney of record aware of all alternate resolutions or options available in lieu of trial.
. Prior to the pre-trial conference date, a defendant or his attorney of record may request that the prosecutor have information such as, but not limited to, video, accident report, or offense report available for inspection or review at the pre-trial conference. This request must in writing and given to the State’s attorney at least one (1) week prior to the pre-trial conference date.
. Only two (2) continuances shall be granted unless extenuating circumstances are timely presented to the Court and approved by the judge. Either side may request a reset; however, there shall ONLY be a total of two (2) resets.
Failure to appear
. If any defendant fails to appear at the pre-trial hearing, the court shall file a failure to appear charge against the defendant and an arrest warrant shall be issued.
RULE 5. MOTIONS AND PRE-TRIAL HEARING
. All motions shall be in writing. The original motion shall be filed with the Court either in person, by mail or fax. A copy of said motion shall be delivered to the opposing side by mail or fax or in person on the same day that the original motion(s) is filed with the Court.
. All pre-trial motions (except 5.8.[a] and 5.9) shall be set for a pre-trial hearing.
. All pro se defendants and attorneys who represent a defendant who have a case pending in the Municipal Court are required to attend all pre-trial hearings.
Motions for continuance
. All motions for continuance shall comply with Chapter 29 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and are to be filed
at least three (3) business days
prior to the jury trial date and
two (2) business days
prior to the pre-trial or non-jury trial date and the continuance may be filed by fax.
. The ruling on a motion for continuance shall be at the discretion of the judge.
Number of Continuances
. Only two (2) continuances shall be granted unless exigent circumstances are timely presented to the Court. Either side may request a continuance; however, there SHALL only be a total of two (2) continuances.
Motion for discovery
. If a defendant or an attorney of record wants any reports, documents, papers, photographs, video, or any other information pertaining to his case, the defendant or attorney of record may file a motion for discovery. The motion shall comply with Art. 39.14 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. The motion is to be filed at least one (1) month prior to the scheduled trial date and the Court will conduct a hearing on said motion.
Other pre-trial motions
. Any other pre-trial motions, such as, but not limited to, motions to suppress are to be filed at least one (1) month prior to the scheduled trial date and the Court will conduct a hearing on said motion(s).
Motion in limine
. This motion shall be filed before or at time of trial and the Court will conduct a hearing on said motion prior to voir dire (jury selection).
Motion to withdraw
. Any attorney who makes an appearance on behalf of the defendant or who represents to the Court that he is the attorney of record shall remain the attorney of record until a motion to withdraw as counsel or substitute counsel is granted.
Without a hearing
. A motion to withdraw as attorney of record will be granted without a hearing only if the moving attorney files a certificate stating the last known address of the defendant AND files either a written consent to the withdrawal signed by the client or a specific statement of the circumstances that prevent the attorney from obtaining the client’s written consent and that the client has been notified of the attorney’s intent to withdraw by forwarding a copy of the motion to withdraw to said client.
With a hearing
. If all of the requirements of Rule 5.8(a) are not met, a motion to withdraw must be presented at a hearing after notice to the defendant and to all other parties has been given.
. If a motion to substitute another attorney includes an appearance by the other attorney, then the other attorney’s appearance will satisfy the requirements of §5.8(a) above.
RULE 6. TRIAL SETTINGS
. A request for a trial must be in writing and may be made either prior to or at the first appearance docket. The written trial request shall specify either jury or waiver of jury trial.
. Upon making a written request for trial, the attorney of record shall provide his name, office address, telephone number, fax number, and bar card number. A defendant representing himself and requesting a trial shall provide current work and home address and telephone numbers. If an attorney or defendant changes his address and/or telephone number prior to trial, he is required to notify the Court of his new address and/or telephone number.
Change of plea before trial
. If the court receives a plea and waiver at least three (3) business days before a scheduled trial date, the court shall dispose of the case without requiring a court appearance by the defendant UNLESS the defendant is a minor with an alcohol violation and falls within Rule 2.C.2(b).
. Each defendant and defendant’s attorney, if there is one, are required to appear at the Court at 8:00 a.m.
. Each defendant, defendant’s attorney and State’s attorney are required to be present at the Court at 8:00 a.m.
. All cases set on the trial docket will be called at the time for which they are set, whereupon the State and the defendant are expected to announce if they are ready or not for trial.
Failure to appear
. If a defendant and/or defense counsel is not present in the courtroom at the time the case is called, the Court may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. If an attorney fails to appear, the arrest warrant will be issued in the Defendant’s name. The defendant will be required to post a cash bond or attorney bond in the total amount of the fine, court costs and any other fees unless the defendant or defense attorney can show good cause for his failure to appear.
. The Court may, at the request of either the State or defendant, or on its own motion, specially set a case for trial on the merits.
RULE 7. POST TRIAL
Motion for new trial
. A written motion for new trial MUST be filed by the defendant or defendant’s attorney with the Court within five (5) days after the rendition of judgment and sentence. See Art. 45.037 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
. An appeal bond is required to perfect an appeal from the Municipal Court. All appeal bonds require the signature and address of the defendant and be in compliance with Chapter 17 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Plea entered in person or convicted at trial
. If a defendant appears in open court to enter a plea or was convicted at trial, the appeal bond must be filed not later than the tenth (10th) day after the date the judgment was entered.
Plea entered by mail
. If a defendant enters a plea and waiver of jury trial by mail, then the appeal bond must be filed before the 31st day after receiving the certified mail notice from the court of the amount of the fine and appeal bond.
Inability to pay fine
. If a defendant does not appeal the Court’s decision, but is unable to pay the fine when due, the defendant must complete the application for time payment plan, extension or community service and personally appear before the judge. If the defendant qualifies, the Court may allow the defendant to pay the fine in installments or discharge the fine by performing community service.
. If a defendant or defendant’s attorney of record fails to appear for any court docket, a warrant of arrest SHALL be issued for the defendant’s arrest. If the defendant is represented by an attorney, the attorney MUST file an attorney bond with the Court in order to recall his/her client’s arrest warrant. If a defendant is not represented by an attorney, then the defendant MUST post a bond with the Court
Capias Pro Fine
. If a defendant does not pay the fine, meet all obligations of an installment payment plan, or discharge the fine by performing community service as ordered by the Court, a capias pro fine will be issued which will subject the defendant to arrest and confinement in jail until the capias pro fine is paid in full either by payment of the entire amount(s) owed or by serving time in jail until the full amount is paid through jail time credit.
RULE 8. EXPUNGEMENT
Juveniles and Minors
. All procedures concerning expunction of any alcohol violation by a minor (under 21 years of age) shall comply with Sec. 106.12 of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
. All procedures concerning expunction of tobacco violations by a minor (under 18) shall comply with Section 161.255 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.
. All procedures concerning expunction of penal violations by a juvenile (under 17) shall comply with Art. 45.0216 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
. All procedures concerning expunction of any criminal records shall comply with the requirements of Chapter 55 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
424 South Castell Ave. - New Braunfels, TX 78130 - Ph: (830) 221-4000 - Fax: (830) 608-2109
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