Municipal Court - General Information
The following information has been provided to assist
those persons subject to court proceedings.
Citations for a Class C
Misdemeanor that are issued by an officer of
the City of Sweeny will be filed in Municipal Court. Typically these are
violations of city ordinance or violations of state law for which the
punishment is by fine only.
Common offenses include traffic violations
such as speeding, running a red light or stop sign, driving without a
driversí license or liability insurance or while vehicle registration or
inspection stickers are expired, as well as many others.
ordinance infractions include weeds and rubbish, animals running at large,
junk vehicles, and numerous parking restrictions.
The Municipal Court also has jurisdiction over any state law
violation punishable by fine only including theft of property valued
under $50, public intoxication, and minor in possession of alcohol.
Citations filed with the Municipal Court are written by Sweeny Police
Each citation issued sets out an appearance date. It is very important
that the defendant take action on the citation on or before the appearance
date shown. Please do not appear the same day you receive the citation.
Allow three business dates from the violation date before contacting the
court. If a defendant is issued a citation and must
request a reset or continuance, the defendant must contact the court prior
to the original appearance date. A new court date will be assigned at that
time. The case will only be reset once. At the time of the first court
appearance, the defendant will be advised of their rights, advised of the
charges pending against them, and they will enter a plea on the case. (Telephone
contact is not an appearance.) That plea will determine if there will
be further proceedings on the case.
GUILTY or NO
CONTEST: If a defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and
either a fine is imposed and/or an alternative disposition of the case is
entered. The amount of the fine assessed is determined by the facts of the
case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine. On the other hand,
aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. Fines in Municipal Court
can range from $1 to $2,000 depending on the offense charged. In addition
to a fine, court costs mandated by the state will be charged. The costs
are different depending on the offense. Questions concerning specific
fines and costs should be addressed to the court.
A plea of not guilty will result in the case being set for trial either
with a jury or without a jury. A jury of six members will be selected to
hear each jury case. If the defendant is found not guilty, no fine or
court costs are owed and no conviction is reported on the defendantís
record. If the defendant is found guilty, a fine and court costs will be
imposed and a conviction is recorded.
Failing to Appear in Court
Failure to appear on the scheduled court date (or before)
may result in the filing of additional criminal charges, the issuance of
an arrest warrant, and the imposition of additional fines and costs.
While your case is proceeding
through the court system, please observe the following:
No weapons of any type are
permitted in the Municipal Court.
Sit quietly in the
courtroom whenever court is in session.
When addressing the Judge,
do not lean on the bench.
No food or drinks are
allowed in the courtroom.
Smoking is prohibited in
all City buildings.
Avoid bringing small
children to court. If you must, please monitor their behavior so they
remain quiet at all times. Parents will be asked to leave the
courtroom if their child becomes noisy or unruly.
Please wear suitable
clothing to court. It is inappropriate to enter the courtroom unless
you are wearing a shirt, pants or skirt and shoes. T-shirts with
offensive slogans or pictures are not allowed.
Hats should be removed
before entering the courtroom.
A person is considered a juvenile if the person is at least
ten (10) years
old but under seventeen (17) years old charged with criminal offenses. Parents or
legal guardians of juveniles who are defendants in the Sweeny Municipal
Court are required to be present during all proceedings with the juvenile.
to Municipal Court)