- Municipal Court
- Understand your Rights
- Learn about Options
- Respond to a Citation
- Plea of NO CONTEST or GUILTY
- Plea of NOT GUILTY
- Coming to Court
- Jury Summons
- Court Dates & Dockets
- Court Forms and Documents
You have many rights as a defendant in municipal court:
- You are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
- You have the right to remain silent and to refuse to testify without consequences.
- You have the right to retain a lawyer.
- You may also represent yourself (as a pro se defendant).
- You have the right to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest (nolo contendere).
- You have the right to receive a copy of the complaint before trial as well as other information the state has about your case (called "discovery").
If you need the services of an interpreter, please notify the municipal court administrator prior to your appearance in court.
Your Rights During Trial:
- You have the right to a jury trial or a trial before a judge.
- You have the right to hear all testimony introduced against you.
- You have the right to cross examine witnesses who testify against you.
- You have the right to testify on your own behalf or refuse without consequences.
- You have the right to subpoena and call witnesses to testify on your behalf.
- You have the right to appeal within 20 days of any conviction.
Learn my options
There are two primary options to respond to a citation. Each will have different consequences, as described below.
If you have questions about your rights, your best option, what plea to enter, or possible consequences, you should contact an attorney.
What is the typical timeline of a case in municipal court?
You are legally obligated to take action on your ticket or citation no later than the appearance date noted on your ticket or citation. You or your attorney may appear in person or by mail (postmarked before the appearance date). Your first appearance is to determine your plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty, which you can read about below.
Certain defendants are REQUIRED to appear in court
The following defendants MUST appear in Court and MAY NOT reply by mail:
JUVENILES (16 years of age and under) - MUST appear with parent or guardian
FAMILY VIOLENCE cases
Plead "No Contest" or "Guilty"
If you plead guilty, you admit to having done the act charged, and you are waiving your right to a trial. You may also plead "no contest," which has the same outcomes but you do not have to admit fault or guilt. This may be helpful for any civil case involving this matter.
What will happen next?
The judge will enter a conviction, which will go on your criminal record. You may be ordered to pay a fine and court costs. You may also be eligible to request Deferred Disposition or another alternative that, if completed successfully, will lead to your case being dismissed. Discuss alternatives with the judge, prosecutor, or your lawyer.
What does it mean for my rights?
1. If you choose to plead guilty or no contest, you are waiving your right to a trial.
The criminal conviction may affect your housing, job, licenses, or immigration.
Talk with a lawyer to learn more about these possible consequences.
Plead "Not Guilty"
You deny guilt of the violation in which you were accused, and the state must prove its charge beyond a reasonable doubt.
What will happen next?
Your case will be scheduled for a trial date. Before trial, you will attend a pre-trial date to discuss your case with the prosecutor and explore alternative resolutions. If your case will proceed to trial, please inform the court whether you want a trial by judge or jury. At your trial, a judge or jury will hear the evidence to determine your guilt or innocence.
What does it mean for my rights?
1. if you are acquitted or found not guilty at trial, you will not have a record or owe
payment to the court.
2. If you are ultimately found guilty at trial, the court will explain your consequences
and any payments owed.
Respond to a Citation
Once you understand your rights and have learned your options, the next step will be to enter a plea with the court. Depending on the plea, you may have additional options available to you with the court. Some options include Deferred Disposition, Driving Safety Course, payment plans, community service, etc. Those items are explained in the "Plea of No Contest or Guilty" section. Other citations may be eligible for compliance dismissals, which are explained below.
Additional Information regarding your citation
The following documents are provided to assist you with responding to your citation with the court:
Informational flier for Citation
So You Received a Citation
What If I Can’t Pay
Defendant Information form
Expired Vehicle Registration
Defendants may be eligible to have the charges dismissed with a $20 administrative fee if you present proof of correction within 20 working days after the offense or before your court appearance date, whichever is later. You MUST show proof of payment of the LATE REGISTRATION FEE to the county assessor-collector. You MUST inform the county assessor-collector about your citation to ensure the late penalty fee is added prior to payment.
Failure to Display Driver’s License
Defendants will be eligible to have the charge dismissed with a $10 administrative fee, if you present proof to the court of a valid driver’s license at the time of the citation.
Failure to Change Name/Address on Driver's License
Defendants may be eligible to have the charge dismissed with a $20 administrative fee, if you present proof of correction not more than five working days after the offense date.
No Liability Insurance
Defendants will be eligible for a dismissal if they contact their insurance company and request that proof of insurance be EMAILED or FAXED to the court at 512-446-6258. Insurance must be effective on the date and time the citation was issued. Your citation number must be noted on the subject line or cover sheet from the insurance company. This proof should be presented to the court no later than your appearance date as shown on your citation.
Please note: The court will not accept a copy of an insurance card or an emailed or faxed copy from any defendant. Proof MUST be faxed or emailed directly to the court from the insurance company.
Option chosen -
Plead NO CONTEST or GUILTY
Respond by Paying the Fine
Payment note: If you plan to request a Driving Safety Course (DSC) or Deferred Disposition, you MUST contact the court PRIOR to making a payment. Payments received prior to the request being approved by the judge may waive your right to request DSC or Deferred.
PAY YOUR FINE ONLINE NOW
Pay your fine in person
Pay in person at Rockdale City Hall, 505 West Cameron Avenue
Payment methods include:
Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express)
** Personal checks are NOT accepted by the Court **
Payments may be mailed to:
Rockdale Municipal Court
PO Box 586
Rockdale, TX 76567
Respond by Requesting an Alterative
Request for a Driving Safety Course (DSC)
Driving Safety Courses allow defendants to complete a class in exchange for a dismissal of many traffic-related charges. In addition to completing (and paying for) the course, defendants must be assessed court costs and may be assessed an administrative fee. Only certain charges are eligible for this option and you cannot take more than one course in a 12-month period. If you plan to request a Driving Safety Course, DO NOT make a payment before obtaining permission from the judge. A payment on the citation prior to approval by the judge may waive your right to request DSC. The following links are provided for more information regarding Driving Safety Courses:
Certified driving safety course https://tdlrapproved.com/:
Request your driving record: https://txapps.texas.gov/tolapp/txldrcdr/TXDPSLicenseeManager?utm_source=texasgov&utm_medium=popservice&utm_campaign=drivers_2019
Request for a Deferred Disposition
Defendants may be eligible to have their charges dismissed by completing a term of probation known as deferred disposition. Only the judge can offer deferred disposition. In addition to completing any probation terms, such as avoiding further charges or completing community service, defendants are typically assessed court costs and administrative fees. If you plan to make a request for Deferred Disposition, DO NOT make a payment before obtaining permission from the judge. A payment on the citation prior to approval by the judge may waive your right to request Deferred.
Option Chosen - Plead NOT GUILTY
Contact the court to plead not guilty
Respond to your citation and let the court know you are pleading not guilty. Please inform the court whether you want a trial by jury or judge. You will be set for a Pre-Trial hearing date to meet with the prosecutor to explore alternative resolutions.
if your case proceeds to trial, the following documents will provide additional information on court rules and procedures:
Municipal Court Rules of Conduct and Court Decorum
Trial Procedures brochure
Trial Costs brochure
Failure to appear to court
if you do not come to a scheduled court date, the prosecutor may file additional charges against you (Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear or Violate Promise to Appear). These charges are misdemeanors that carry their own penalties, regardless of what happens with your original case. To avoid additional penalties, it is important to comply with scheduled court dates.
Hours and Location
Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 12:30 pm and 1:30 - 4:30 pm
505 West Cameron Avenue
Rockdale, Texas 76567
Members of the public entering the courtroom must go through a metal detector. Please leave weapons and liquids at home. Cell phones are allowed in the building but can only be used in the hallways. They must be off or silenced in the courtroom. Certain confiscated items may be held and may be returned upon departure.
In fairness to everyone who is having their case heard, it is important to minimize noise in the courtroom. All phones and electronics must be turned off or silenced while in the courtroom. If you are causing a disturbance, you may be asked to leave the courtroom. A copy of Arraignment Information for Defendants is available here.
Please no food, drinks, or gum chewing in the courtroom.
Rescheduling a Court Date
For more information regarding the possibility of rescheduling a court date, you must contact the court prior to your scheduled court date.
Failure to Appear to Court
If you do not come to a scheduled court date, the prosecutor may file additional charges against you (Bail Jumping and Failure to Appear or Violate Promise to Appear). These charges are misdemeanors that carry their own penalties, regardless of what happens with your original case. To avoid additional penalties, it is important to comply with scheduled court dates and payment agreements. If you are unable to pay, you can learn more about options that may be available to you by contacting the court.
Jurors perform a valuable role in the justice system. The protection of our rights and liberties is largely achieved through the cooperation of the judge and jury. The judge determines the law to be applied in the case, while the jury decides the facts. Jurors must be men and women who possess sound judgment, honesty and a complete sense of fairness. Those summoned for jury service must live in the jurisdiction of the court. Jury service is a duty of citizenship.
When necessary, the Rockdale Municipal Court will issue Official Jury Summons for potential jurors.
In the event of a cancellation, jurors are asked to listen to KRXT-FM, 98.5 on the radio at 5:00 p.m. the day before the trial and at 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., and 8:00 a.m. the day of the trial. Jurors may also check the City’s website for notice of cancellation.
IMPORTANT: Please read your Official Jury Summons carefully. Answer all questions on the form and bring the summons with you to court. Please print legibly. You are to appear promptly as instructed on the summons. if you have a special need or disability, you are encouraged to notify the court immediately concerning requests for reasonable accommodations.
The list of Juror’s Rights and Responsibilities is available for your review.
If you enter a plea of Guilty or No Contest and believe that you are indigent, you will have the opportunity to present evidence to the court regarding your inability to pay fine and costs. Upon receipt of an Affidavit of Indigence, the court will schedule an indigence hearing to determine if you are indigent. You must provide Evidence of Indigence to the judge on or before the time of your hearing. If you are found to be indigent, you may be given alternative means of discharging the fine and costs.
Guide for a list of legal assistance organizations:
- Affidavit of Indigence (PDF)
- Arraignment Information for Defendants (PDF)
- Citation Informational flier 2020 (PDF)
- Citation Packet (PDF)
- Court Date Reset Request (PDF)
- Driving Safety Course (DSC) Reply Form (PDF)
- Evidence of Indigence (PDF)
- Jurors Rights and Responsibilities (PDF)
- Municipal Court Fine Schedule (PDF)
Our mission is to be neutral, courteous, helpful, and fair for all members of the public.
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Thank you for visiting the Rockdale Municipal Court website. It is our desire to assist the public in a positive and friendly manner that assures fair and quality customer service. The Rockdale Municipal Court strives to provide professional court proceedings that follow all applicable laws and ensure that the rights of all persons are observed.
Herbert VaughanPresiding JudgePhone: (512)446-0812
Paula PhillipsCourt AdministratorPhone: 512-446-0812
505 W Cameron Avenue
Rockdale, TX 76567
505 W Cameron Avenue Rockdale TX 76567
Phone: 512-446-0812Fax: 512-446-6258
Monday through Friday
8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p..m
1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.