Arraignments/Entry of a Plea

Arraignment Settings

The court appearance date that appears on a citation or summons is an arraignment setting, unless notified otherwise by mail.

Arraignment Docket

The purpose of the arraignment setting is to determine the defendant's plea to the offense charged and for the Court to apprise the defendant of his/her Constitutional Rights.  At the arraignment setting, the defendant must enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere (no contest).  If the plea is guilty or nolo cotendere, the defendant will be assessed the usual window fine.  If a not guilty plea is entered, the case will be set for a trial at a later date.  If the defendant wishes to have a trial by jury, a jury trial request may be made at the arraignment.

Written Plea

All pleas shall be in writing, except for pleas entered in open court before a judge.  A fine payment shall constitute a plea of nolo contendere as allowed by law.

Requests for Assistance

  • A request for a language interpreter should be made in writing at the time a plea is entered.
  • Requests for assistance from persons with disabilities should be made at the time the plea is entered.
  • Requests for visual or audio aids should be made at least one (1) week prior to trial so that arrangements can be made for the proper equipment to be available.

Plea by Mail

The date of the postmark shall be designated as the date of filing of any plea received by mail.

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.

Defendant Appearance

A defendant who is not represented by an attorney must appear at all court settings of his/her case(s).  Individuals who are representing themselves (pro se defendants) should be prepared to present their case(s) in a proper manner.  It is not the Court's duty or responsibility to protect or represent you, or to instruct you on court procedures, evidence, rules, or how to present and prove your case(s).

Required Appearance

All interested parties must be present and in the courtroom at the time the docket is called.  Interested parties are defined as Defendants, Defense Counsel, or State's Counsel.

Failure to Appear

If the Defendant fails to appear in person, or through attorney of record, at the time the case is called, the Court may charge the defendant with failure to appear.

Deadline to File

Unless leave of Court has been granted, all pretrial motions shall be filed prior to pretrial hearing.  Such motions shall be heard no later than three (3) days prior to trial.

Service

It shall be the responsibility of the party filing any pretrial motion to serve opposing counsel or party with a copy of the motion within three (3) days of the filing of said motion.  Service may be made by hand delivery, certified mail, or fax.  The motion shall include a certificate of service as provided by Rule 21a of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.

Setting the Hearing Date

The defendant shall receive the pretrial hearing date at the arraignment hearing or by mail.

Subpoena/Evidence

The State is responsible for the appearance of all necessary witnesses in response to a defendant's motion to suppress evidence.  In all other cases, each party shall be responsible for subpoenaing its own witnesses and physical evidence.