What is the difference between a plea of not guilty, guilty, and no contest?
Not Guilty Plea: The defendant is informing the court that he or she denies guilt or has a defense in the case and that the state must prove what it has charged in the complaint.
If you choose to plea "Not Guilty", you have a right to a jury trial, unless you waive that right and request a trial by judge. By setting your case for trial, you are giving up your right to require that your case be dismissed through a mandatory Driving Safety Course. If you wish to receive a trial, please fill out the Plea of Not Guilty Form and appear in person at the City of Victoria Municipal Court or submit your request by mail. The court will then set you for a Pretrial court date to discuss your case(s) with the prosecutor. If you and the prosecutor do not come to an agreement during the Pretrial conference, you will then proceed to your trial setting.
Guilty: A plea by which a defendant confesses to the crime with which the defendant is charged, or the verdict by which a defendant is convicted.
No Contest/Nolo Contendere: A plea in which the defendant does not contest the charge. Nolo contendere has the same legal effect as a guilty plea; however, it may not be used against the defendant as an admission of guilt in a civil suit based upon or growing out of the act upon which the criminal prosecution is based.
If you choose to plea “Guilty” or “No Contest”, you can pay your charge off in full, start a payment plan, or your offense may be eligible for defensive driving or a deferred disposition. Click here for defensive driving information and click here for deferred disposition.
How much does my ticket cost?The cost will vary. For a list of the fines, please click here. Please note: Not all fines are listed on the chart. For any fine not listed, you may call the Municipal Court for more information at (361) 485-3050. You can also check on our online payment system at this link: Municipal Court Online Payments.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept cash, money order, personal checks with proper identification, and credit cards including MasterCard, Visa, and Discover. We do not accept American Express. Please note: if you have a warrant or a warrant pending, personal checks will not be accepted.
Is my citation eligible for a payment plan?Your citation may be eligible for a payment plan. If you have an active warrant, a payment plan option is no longer available. The minimum needed to start a new payment plan is $50.00 and it will be $50.00 monthly until your charge or charges are paid in full. To make a payment arrangement, you must appear in person at the City of Victoria Municipal Court or submit your request by mail. Please note: Payment arrangements can not be set up over the phone or by someone other than the person who received the citation.
Can I take defensive driving for my ticket?Your ticket MAY be eligible to dismiss through a Driver's Safety Course. To find out more information regarding eligibility, please visit this page: Defensive Driving (DSC).
Is my ticket eligible for Deferred Disposition?
Your citation MAY be eligible for a Deferred Disposition. Deferred Disposition is an option that will keep your citation from being reported as a conviction on your driving record and will be dismissed if all terms required are successfully met. If any requirements are not met and you cannot provide a satisfactory reason why at a hearing before a judge, you will be found guilty and a conviction will be reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Please note: not all violations are approved for Deferred Disposition.
If you have questions regarding Deferred eligibility, please visit this page: Deferred Disposition.
Can I do community service to discharge my fine?
- You may enter a plea of guilty or no contest and request community service hours in lieu of paying a fine. The number of hours you work is determined by the amount of the fine and the violation itself. Community service can be performed to discharge the fine and it must be performed for a Governmental entity or a non-profit organization that provides services to the general public that enhance social welfare and the general well-being of the community or it will not count. You must make this request in person at the City of Victoria Municipal Court. Community service can be completed at any non profit organization, church organization, or government entity. If you have defaulted on a previous payment plan, have a warrant pending, or have an active warrant, community service is not an option to discharge your fine.
How will a conviction affect me?Criminal convictions MAY result in any of the following based on your circumstances: Loss of driver's license, Surcharges assessed by the Texas Department of Public Safety, Increased insurance costs or cancellation, Loss of job, Loss of educational opportunities, and May affect immigration status.
How can I get jail credit for a case?Credit for time served can only be granted by the Judge. If you were recently incarcerated on an offense(s) from the City of Victoria Municipal Court, you will have an arraignment date where you will need to appear in person before the Judge in order for time served to be granted.
What are some examples of City Code violations and how are they processed through Municipal Court?
City Code violations that are filed with the Municipal Court are class C misdemeanors punishable by a fine up to $500.00 plus court costs and restitution (if applicable).
Failure to Return Library Property:
Section 11-3 states:
"(a) Every person who shall take or borrow from the public library any book, pamphlet, periodical, paper, print of a painting, film, phonograph record, magnetic tape, or other property, and neglect to return the same within two (2) weeks from the date of mailing a notice to the person's address, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) A parent of a child who is under the age of fifteen (15) years (the child's age) commits an offense if the parent fails to take library property from his or her child and return it to the library within two (2) weeks from the date of mailing a notice to the parent's address that indicates that the child has taken or borrowed property from the public library and failed to return it to the library. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this subsection that the parent was incapable of taking said property from the child because he/she did not have custody of the child. It is also an affirmative defense to prosecution under this subsection that, within two (2) weeks of the date of mailing the aforementioned notice, the parent informed the library that the child was no longer in possession of the library book and produced the child before the director of the library to arrange for restitution to the library of the value of the book."
Juvenile Curfew Violation:
Section 15-31 states:
"(a) A minor commits an offense if he remains in any public place or on the premises of any commercial establishment within the city during curfew hours. Please note: A minor means any person under seventeen (17) years of age
(b) A parent of a minor commits an offense if he knowingly permits, or by insufficient control allows, a minor to remain in any public place or on the premises of any commercial establishment within the city during curfew hours."
The Juvenile Curfew is as follows:
- 12:01 a.m. on any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday until 6:00 a.m. of that same day; and
- 1:01 a.m. until 6:00 a.m. on any Saturday or Sunday; and
- 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday on days that the school in which the minor is enrolled is in session unless the minor has school permission to be off-campus.
Section 4-40 of the City Code states:
"(a) It shall be unlawful for an owner of an animal to fail to exercise control over such animal to prevent it from threatening, chasing or attacking passing persons, vehicles or other animals.
(b) It shall be unlawful for an owner of a dog to fail to keep such animal under restraint. This subsection shall not apply to law enforcement canines when performing law enforcement activities under the direction of a trained handler.
(c) It shall be unlawful for an owner of an animal to fail to exercise control over such animal to prevent it from damaging private or public property.
(d) It shall be unlawful for an owner of an animal to fail to exercise control over such animal to prevent it from barking, whining or howling in such a manner, with such intensity, or with such continued duration, so as to annoy, distress or disturb the quiet comfort or repose of persons of normal nervous sensibilities within the vicinity of hearing thereof.
(e) It shall be unlawful for an owner of a dog or cat in heat to fail to confine such animal in a building that prevents any contact between such animal and any other animal, except for planned breeding"
City Code violations can be issued by a variety of different departments including: Police Department, Fire Department, Code Enforcement, Animal Control Officers, and the Library. In most instances, you will be notified by a summons to appear in court. Failure to appear to make disposition of the charge(s) pending against you will result in a warrant being issued. For more information regarding City Ordinances, please click here.
If I have warrants, will I be arrested if I come to court?Defendants with outstanding warrants are subject to arrest at any time. Individuals are encouraged to appear in Municipal Court to take care of their tickets and are generally not arrested.
Why do I have to pay court costs even if I don’t go to trial?Court costs and fees are required by the State Legislature and City Council. The court is required to collect them.
Will the court appoint an attorney for me?No. If you would like to consult an attorney it will be your responsibility.
What is the difference between a trial by jury and a trial by judge?
- A jury trial consists of 6 citizens who will determine the outcome of your case based on the evidence set forth by the State (prosecutor).
- A trial by judge consists of a judge hearing the case and determining the outcome based on the evidence set forth by the State (prosecutor).
You may want to consult an attorney for more information if you have additional questions. What do I need to do to keep a case off my record?
- Successfully complete a Driving Safety Course (if eligible).
- Successfully complete a Deferred Disposition, similar to probation (if eligible).
- Have case dismissed by showing appropriate proof of compliance (if eligible).
- Not guilty verdict at a trial
Other useful information and websites
Municipal Court Schedule of Fines*
- Driver's Safety Course vs Deferred Disposition
- Deferred Disposition Application
- DSC Application
- DSC Affidavit Form
- Driving Record Request Form
- Handicapped Parking Dismissal Form
- Motion for Continuance
- Plea Form
- Request for Information Form
- Texas DPS Driver Responsibility Surcharge Program information