Court Hearing & Trials

Mandatory Pre-Trial Hearing

If you wish to have a trial, you must first appear for a pre-trial hearing. A pre-trial hearing is an opportunity to enter a plea and file motions before the court. The state (city prosecutor) will have the option to object or not object to any motions being filed. As the defendant, you will also have the opportunity to object to any motions filed by the state. At the pre-trial hearing, you may elect to be set for either a trial by judge or a trial by jury. 

If you are eligible and do not elect to take the option of either a driving safety course (DSC) or deferred disposition, these options will no longer be available once you proceed with a trial request.

Trial by Judge or Jury

If you would like to plead "not guilty", you may make your request for a court date by mail or in person within fifteen (15) calendar days from the date of offense. If you are outside your appearance date, please contact the court for available options. You have a right to either a:
  • Trial by jury - the trial is held before a panel of six City of Plano residents. A jury trial in municipal court generally takes up to three or four hours, but could be longer.
  • Trial by judge – the trial is held before the municipal judge. This trial generally takes 30 minutes to two hours, but could be longer.
During trial, the city (state) will be represented by an attorney (the city prosecutor) who must prove the charges against you as stated on the complaint, beyond a reasonable doubt. The state presents its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. You will be allowed to hear all the testimony against you and, if you wish, after each witness has testified, you will have a turn to ask questions of the witness.

Presenting Your Case

After the state has presented its’ case, you may present your case. You may call other witnesses to testify for you who know something about the charge being brought against you. You may testify on your own behalf, but you are not required to do so. Should you decide not to testify, your silence cannot be held against you.

The court will not appoint you an attorney. However, you may choose to hire an attorney to represent you. You cannot be represented by someone who is not an attorney. Whether represented by an attorney or not, you will be expected to follow the rules of evidence and procedures just like the city prosecutor.

After either type of trial, the judge will announce the finding of either not guilty or guilty. With a guilty finding, a fine and the applicable state costs will be assessed. This amount may be different from the amount quoted to you by the court clerk prior to your trial. If you are found guilty, you will have 10 days to file a motion for new trial (see Chapter 30 of the Texas Government Code), otherwise the fine amount is due immediately.

Note: Effective July 1, 2012, the City of Plano Municipal Court will convert to a court of record. This conversion will affect all trial proceedings before the Municipal Court and all appeals from Judgments. Defendants must request any trial recording.

Note: A fine is punishment and the court has an expectation that all fines and court costs will be paid at the time of sentencing.