Poteet Municipal Court
DEPUTY COURT CLERK - Yvonne Mejia
City of Poteet Court dates are every 3rd Tuesday of the month beginning at 10:00 AM, with the Honorable Judge Bill Gamez and Honorable Associate Judge Elsie Guerra presiding.
Court office hours are Monday - Friday 8:00 - 5:00. Closed daily from 12:00 - 1:00.
Methods of payment accepted are:
- Cash, Check, Money Order, Cashiers Check, Credit/Debit Card and over the phone with card.
- Payments made with a credit card are charged a 5% card fee based on the amount of payment.
- Please make Checks/Money orders out to Poteet Municipal Court
- You may also pay online by clicking on the link to the right.
- Payments are accepted from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday thru Friday.
Municipal Court Offices are located at:
491 Ave H
Poteet, TX 78065
Note: The Judge and Prosecutor are only here on court day. If you want to speak with either one of them, make sure you appear on your scheduled court date. Remember! It is considered ex parte communication to discuss any facts of the case with the judge or prosecutor that would hinder them from determining final judgment on the case.
The Poteet Municipal Court only handles citations or cases generated by the Poteet Police Department.
Bench/Jury trials are scheduled as needed. Monthly court dockets are posted at City Hall up to forty eight hours prior to court day. All persons entering the courtroom should be dressed in clothing reasonably befitting the dignity and solemnity of the courtroom proceedings (e.g., shorts, flip-flops, tank-tops or T-shirts are not permitted).
The facts and circumstances of each case determine the amount of fine the court assesses. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine, even if you are guilty. On the other hand, aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. The range of punishment or fine most municipal court violations is as follows:
- Traffic Code Violations $1- $200
- Class C Penal Code Violations $1 - $500
- Class C Violations Outside the Penal Code $1 - $1000
- City Ordinance Violations $1 - $2000
The fine does not include court costs which will vary from case to case. You will be expected to pay for fine and court costs at the time your case is heard. Court costs must be paid regardless of whether you have actually appeared in court. Mailed payments must have court costs included. State law requires an additional $25 be added to each case for any fine not paid within 30 days of judgment. Further, an additional $25 will be added to any offense occurring in a school zone.
A defendant who is 18 years of age or older may make an appearance in person or by mail. However, if the defendant is a juvenile, or a minor in alcohol or tobacco related offenses, may only appear in person with their parent or guardian.
PAYMENT OF FINES / FEES
Payments may be made in person or mailed. If payment is mailed, the court will mail you a receipt. Payment methods accepted are cash, money orders or cashier’s checks. If made in person proper identification must be shown to prove that it is the actual defendant paying on his/her case. If a parent is making a payment for their child, the child must appear with the parent when payment is made.
Payments made in person, can be made M-F between the hours of 8am – 4:30pm. Municipal Court is closed between the hours of 12pm and 1pm for lunch, if you need to make a payment, please go to City Hall. Note: If you pay the ticket in full or in payments it will be reported to the Department of Public Safety and will reflect on your driving record. Certain offenses can incur surcharges from DPS. For surcharge information you can contact the Department of Public Safety Driver Improvement Department at 512-424-7120.
FAILURE TO APPEAR / PAY FINES
Once a defendant has failed to appear in court or pay his/her case(s), their license will be placed on hold thru Omnibase Services and $30 will be added to each case that is reported to them. Once payment is received in full, the court will release the hold. It usually takes 2-3 days for the case to be removed from your driver’s license. If you are unsure if another court besides ours has a hold on your license, you may contact Omnibase Services toll free at 800-686-0570.
If you fail to appear/pay and you do not have a driver’s license, warrants will be issued for your arrest. If you are unsure if a warrant has been issued, contact the court for more information.
The court is also contracted with a collection agency for the purpose of the collection of delinquent fines/fees.
Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of not guilty, a formal trial is held. As in all criminal trials, the State is required to prove the guilty of the defendant “beyond a reasonable doubt” of the offense charged in the compliant before a defendant can be found guilty by a judge or jury.
Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. Please consider each plea carefully before making a decision. If you plead “Guilty” or “Nolo Contendere” in open court, you should be prepared to pay the fine and court costs immediately. You should contact the court clerk’s office regarding how to make payment.
Plea of Guilty
By a plea of Guilty, you admit the act is prohibited by law, that you committed the act charged and that you have no defense or excuse for your act. Before entering your plea of Guilty you should understand the following:
- The State has the burden of proving that you violated the law (the law does not require that you prove you did not violate the law);
- You have the right to hear the State’s evidence and to require the State to prove you violated the law; and
- A plea of Guilty may be used against you later in a civil suit if there was a traffic accident (another party can say you were at fault or responsible for the accident because you pled guilty to the traffic charge).
Plea Of Nolo Contendere or No Contest
A plea of No Contest means that you do no contest the State’s charge against you. You will almost certainly be found guilty, unless you are eligible and successfully complete a driving safety course and/or court-ordered probation. A plea of No Contest cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit.
Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of Not Guilty means that you are informing the court that you deny guilt or that you have a defense in your case and that the State must prove what is has charged against you. If you plead not guilty, you will need to decide whether to hire an attorney to represent you. If you represent yourself, please see the section on Presenting the Case at Trail to help you better understand the trial process.
You may choose to take defensive driving to prevent an offense from appearing on your driving record. The court will need to obtain a copy of your driver’s license along with your current insurance card. You will then need to sign an affidavit stating that you have not taken a driving safety course within the last twelve months. Payment of the court costs associated with the case along with a $10 administrative fee will need to be paid before the court grants you permission to take the course. Once all costs are paid, you will have 90 days to complete the course and provide the court with proof of that completion along with a copy of your driving record. The court will provide you with a form that you will need to submit to the Tx Dept of Public Safety along with $10 to obtain your driving record.
Another option you have is Deferred Disposition. You must be at least 25 years of age and agree to a probation period between 1-180 days. Must bring a 3 year copy of your driving record. Your probation period and deferral terms are determined by the judge. Court costs associated with the case must be paid up front to start the deferral process. The fine may be paid by the end of the deferral period or at the time that court costs are paid. If you do not comply with the terms of your deferred disposition, additional charges may be added to your case and the case will be reported to Tx DPS as well.
PRESENTING THE CASE AT TRIAL
As in all criminal trials, the State will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. After 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. You cannot, however, argue with the witness. Your cross-examination of the witness must be in the form of questions only. You may not tell your version of the incident at this time-you will have an opportunity to do so later in the trial.
After the prosecution has presented the 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 you call.
If you so desire, you may testify in your behalf, but as a defendant, you cannot be compelled to testify. It is your choice and your silence cannot be used against you. If you do testify, the State has the right to cross-examine you.
After all testimony is concluded, both sides can make a closing argument. This is your opportunity to tell the Court why you think that you are not guilty of the offense charged. The State has the right to present the first and last arguments. The closing arguments may be based only on the testimony presented during trial.
- Why is Jury Service important?
- What is my duty as a Juror?
- How was I selected?
- Am I eligible?
- Who can be excused from Jury Service?
- What are The Different Types of Cases?
- Will I be paid for being a Juror?
- Must my employer pay me while I am on Jury Duty?
- Who Can Have a Jury Trial?
- Are There Rules about Jury Conduct?
- How is a Juror Selected for a Particular Case?
- What is Voir Dire or Questioning of the Jury Panel?
- What if I have a Special need or Emergency?
Why is Jury Service important?
The United States Constitution and the Texas Constitution guarantee all people the right to trial by an impartial jury of their peers, regardless of race, religion, sex, nation origin or economic status.
What is my duty as a Juror?
As a juror, you must be fair and impartial. Your actions and decisions must also be free of any bias or prejudice because your actions and decisions are the foundation of our judicial system.
How was I selected?
You were selected at random from the current Voter’s Registration list for the City of Poteet.
Am I eligible?
Jurors must be:
- A citizen of the United States.
- A resident of the City of Poteet.
- At least 18 years of age.
- Able to read and write the English language.
- Of sound mind.
You cannot serve on a jury if you:
- Have been convicted of a felony or of any type of theft offense (unless your rights have been restored);
- Are now on probation or deferred adjudication for a felony or for any type of theft; or
- Are now under indictment for a felony or are now under criminal charges for any type of theft.
- If you are in doubt or think you may not be qualified to serve on a jury for one of the above or any other reasons, please notify the judge.
Who can be excused from Jury Service?
You are entitled to be excused as a juror if you:
- Are over 70 years of age;
- Have legal custody of a child under 10 years of age and jury service would leave the child unsupervised;
- Are a student in class;
- Are the caretaker of a person who is unable to care for themselves (an invalid); or
- Can show a physical or mental impairment or an inability to comprehend to communicate in English.
There is a penalty for jurors failing to respond to summons. A juror may be fined up to $100 if he: 1) fails to attend court in disobedience to the notice without reasonable excuse; or 2) files a false claim of exemption from jury service.
What are The Different Types of Cases?
There are two basic types of cases, criminal and civil (including family cases).
A criminal case results when a person is accused of committing a crime. You , as a Juror, must decide whether the person charged is guilty or not. The accused person is presumed innocent and the State, represented by the city prosecutor, must prove the defendant is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
A civil case results from a disagreement or dispute between two or more private parties. In a civil case, you, a juror, must answer questions of disputed facts based upon the testimony and evidence admitted by the Judge. The answers to these questions are called the verdict. Note: Municipal Court does not hear civil cases.
Will I be paid for being a Juror?
Yes. You will be paid $6.00 for appearing for the jury “venire” or pool and if you are selected, to serve on the jury, $10 for each day you actually serve.
Must my employer pay me while I am on Jury Duty?
Your employer is not required to pay you while on jury duty. However, employers are prohibited by law from firing an employee for serving as a Juror. An employee whose employment is terminated in violation of this section is entitled to return to the same employment that was held when summoned for jury service if the employee, as soon as practical after release from jury service, gives the employer actual notice that the employee plans to return. (Civil Practice and Remedies Code, section 122.001).
Who Can Have a Jury Trial?
Any person charged with a criminal offense or any party to a civil case has a right to a jury trial. All parties are equal before the law and each is entitled to the same fair treatment.
Are There Rules about Jury Conduct?
Yes. The Texas Supreme Court has rules to assist you in your conduct as a Juror which will be given to you by the Judge.
How is a Juror Selected for a Particular Case?
Cases will be heard by juries of 6 jurors. A larger group, called a panel, will be sent to the trial court (courtroom) where the jurors will be questioned (Voir Dire Process) under the supervision of the judge.
A juror may be excused from the panel if it is shown that the juror cannot act impartially concerning the case to be heard. In addition each side is allowed to remove a given number of jurors from the panel without having to show any reason. The trial jury will be the first 6 of the remaining jurors on the panel.
What is Voir Dire or Questioning of the Jury Panel?
It is a way for the parties to select a fair and impartial jury. Under the justice system, you may be questioned by each of the lawyers before they decide to remove a certain number of jurors from the jury panel.
For example, the lawyer may ask you questions to see if you are connected to the trial or if you have any prejudice or bias toward anyone in the trial. These questions are not intended to embarrass you, but rather to help the lawyers in the jury selection process. You may ask the judge to allow you to answer some questions away from the other jurors.
What if I have a Special need or Emergency?
After you have been selected as a juror on a trial panel, if you have a special need or an emergency, tell the bailiff.