A trial in Municipal Court is a fair, impartial and public trial as in any other court. Under Texas law, you can be brought to trial only after a sworn complaint is filed against you. A complaint is the charging instrument (document) which alleges the act you are accused of committing and that the act was unlawful. You can be tried only for what is alleged in the complaint.
The City of Decatur Municipal Court is a Court of Record. Defendants must request any trial recording. See Chapter 30 of the Texas Government Code for more information.
Please be aware of Court Etiquette.
Your Rights in Court
- The right to inspect the complaint before trial and have it read to you at the time of trial.
- The right to have your case tried before a jury unless you waive that right.
- The right to hear all testimony introduced against you.
- The right to cross-examine or question any witness who testifies against you.
- The right to testify on your own behalf.
- The right not to testify if you desire. If you choose not to testify, your refusal to do so cannot be held against you in determining your innocence or guilt.
- The right to call witnesses to testify on your behalf at the trial and have the court issue a subpoena to any witnesses to ensure their appearance at the trial. The subpoena request must be submitted to the court in writing at least 10 days prior to the trial date to ensure service.
Trial by Jury
If you choose a jury trial, you have the right to question jurors about their qualifications to hear your case during the Voir Dire (questioning of the panel). If you think a juror might not be fair, impartial, or unbiased, you may ask the judge to excuse the juror. The judge will decide whether to grant your request.
You are permitted to strike three members of the jury panel for any reason you desire, except an illegal reason (such as a strike based solely upon a person's race, sex, or age).