Municipal Court

Presiding Judge

Natalie Banuelos    

MISSION

The Municipal Court is a part of the state judicial system and the judicial branch of the City of Pilot Point. The Court strives to ensure that all citizens that are served by the City of Pilot Point Municipal Court are treated fairly, equally and with honestly and objectivity. The Court will provide a forum for justice for all, will provide prompt and courteous service and allow for the resolution of all citations and complaints arising from Class C misdemeanor offenses and violations of the city’s Code of Ordinances.

RESPONSIBILITIES

The court clerk’s office is responsible for processing the clerical work of the Municipal Court, setting trial dockets, collecting court fines and fees, maintaining court records and performing administrative duties delegated by the Municipal Court Judge.

Court Clerks are not licensed attorneys and are prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct from providing legal advice.

GENERAL INFORMATION

The City of Pilot Point Municipal Court has jurisdiction over Class C Misdemeanors and City Ordinance Violations that occur within city limits and are punishable by fine only.

Printed on your citation is an Appearance Date, which is a due date for you to make arrangements on your citation. It is not a court date. You may contact the clerk in person at the court window or by phone to get information for your citation or possible options, however a phone call will not satisfy appearance requirements.

The City of Pilot Point maintains a Safe Haven policy, whereby defendants may come to court to take care of outstanding cases or warrants without fear of being arrested at the Court. If you are unable to pay the court costs and fines assessed for your citation, you have the opportunity to come to court to speak to the Judge about what options may be available to you. Contact the clerk either at the court window or by phone for more information.

APPEARANCE INSTRUCTIONS

If you wish to enter a plea of “Not Guilty,” you must appear on or before the appear by date on your citation to put your plea in writing and receive a date and time to return to court for a Pre-Trial conference with the Prosecutor to decide if you would like a trial by judge or trial by jury.

If you are going to be represented by legal counsel, your attorney must provide the court with a letter of representation by mail, by fax or in person on or before the appear by date on your citation.

Juvenile Defendants (age 16 and under) MUST ENTER A PLEA IN OPEN COURT BEFORE THE JUDGE. If you are a Juvenile Defendant and have been charged with a Traffic offense or a Tobacco or Alcohol related offense, do not attempt to pay your ticket online. You will be scheduled for a court date and receive notice by mail. You must appear to your court date with a parent or legal guardian.

Minor Defendants (ages 17-20) who are charged with an alcohol related violation (example: Minior DUI, Minor in Possession, Minor in Consumption, Public Intoxication) are required to enter a plea in open court before the Municipal Court Judge. You will be scheduled for a court date and receive notice by mail.

If you are an adult defendant charged with a Class C violation of state or traffic laws or a violation of city ordinances , you may dispose of your case prior to your appear by date by one of the following methods, if applicable, without appearing in court before the Judge:

Pay your fine in full or by making payment arrangements at the court window

Request a Driving Safety Court

Request a Deferred Disposition

PLEA INFORMATION

PLEA OF GUILTY OR “NOLO CONTENDRE”

By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged, that the act is prohibited by law, and that you have no defense for your act. Before entering your plea of guilty, you should understand the following:

The State has the burden of proving its case against you. The law does not require you to prove anything. You have the right to hear the State’s evidence and to require it to prove its case against you.

If you were involved in a traffic accident at the time of the alleged offense, your plea of guilty could be used later in a civil suit for damages as an admission that you were at fault or were the party responsible for the accident.

A plea of “nolo contendere” means you do not contest the State’s charge against you. You will be found guilty upon a plea of “nolo contendere”, but it is not an admission of guilt. A plea of “nolo contendere” or “no contest” cannot be used against you in a civil suit for damages as can a plea of guilty.

A plea of guilty or “nolo contendere” and a waiver of Jury trial may be entered in writing before the trial date. You should be prepared to pay your fine upon entering a plea of guilty of “nolo contendere.”

PLEA OF NOT GUILTY

A plea of not guilty means that you are informing the Court that you deny guilt in this case and the State must prove what it has charged against you. You have a right to a Pre-trial. In the Pre-trial you will speak directly with the City Prosecutor to try and resolve your case. If are not able to reach an agreement with the prosecutor, then either a trial by Judge or a trial by Jury will be set for you, whichever you decide.

The court cannot provide attorneys for Class C offenses. You will need to decide if you want to be represented by a lawyer at trial or if you prefer to defend yourself. No one may represent you that is not a licensed attorney authorized to practice in the State of Texas. If you choose to represent yourself, you must be prepared. The court staff, bailiff, prosecuting attorney or Judge cannot act as your attorney by providing legal advice or legal assistance in the presentation of your case.


Please see the FORMS AND RESOURCES page for information about public legal services.