Municipal Courts are the judicial branch of city government. In addition, the Municipal Court is part of the state judicial system. Municipal Courts hear Class C Misdemeanor criminal cases, including traffic violations, for which the maximum fine, upon conviction, does not exceed $500, and for which no jail sentence may be assessed. They also hear cases involving violation of city ordinances, which may have fines up to $2,000 for certain offenses.
When you receive a citation, the options you have to resolve your case can vary depending on many different factors including but not limited to: the type of violation, the severity of the violation, the age of the defendant, etc. The first thing you will need to do is enter a plea on or before your appearance date. Once you enter a plea, you may be scheduled for a court date, or you may have the option of disposing of the case without appearing in open court. If your situation allows you to resolve the matter without appearing in open court, you may pay the fine, provide proof for expired violations or insurance matters, or you may be eligible for an alternative sentencing option such as deferred disposition (deferred adjudication), or a driving safety course.
Entering a Plea
You must decide upon and enter a plea to the charge against you on or before the appearance date on your citation. If you signed a citation in front of an officer, you did not plead guilty, but only signed a promise to appear in court. There are three possible pleas to a complaint:
Your decision on what plea to enter is the most important decision you will have to make. Whether you feel that you are guilty or not, we suggest that you read the following explanations of all three types of pleas before making your decision.
Plea of Guilty
By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged, that the act is prohibited by law, and that you have no defense for your act. Before entering your plea of guilty, you should understand the following:
(1) The State has the burden of proving its case against you. The law does not require you to prove anything. You have the right to hear the State's evidence and to require it to prove its case against you.
(2) If you were involved in a traffic accident at the time of the alleged offense, your plea of guilty could be used later in a civil suit for damages as an admission that you were at fault or were the party responsible for the accident.
Plea of Nolo Contendere (No Contest)
A plea of "nolo contendere" means you do not contest the State's charge against you. You will be found guilty upon a plea of "nolo contendere", but it is not an admission by you that you are guilty. Also, a plea of "nolo contendere" or "no contest" cannot be used against you in a civil suit for damages as can a plea of guilty.
A plea of guilty or "nolo contendere" and a waiver of Jury trial may be entered by mail before the trial date. You should be prepared to pay your fine upon entering a plea of guilty or "nolo contendere."
Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of not guilty means that you are informing the Court that you deny guilt in this case, and that the State must prove what it has charged against you.
If you plead not guilty, you have the right to a trial by Judge or Jury. You will need to decide whether to employ a lawyer to represent you at trial. You may defend yourself, but no one except a lawyer may represent you.
If you defend yourself, please be advised that the Bedford Municipal Court is a Court of Record. All proceedings will be conducted according to the rules of criminal procedure and the rules of evidence. If you choose to represent yourself, you must be prepared. The court staff, bailiff, prosecuting attorney or Judge cannot act as your attorney by providing legal advice or legal assistance in the presentation of your case.
Innocent Until Proven Guilty
Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On a plea of not guilty, a trial is held and the State is required to prove what it charges in the complaint, "beyond a reasonable doubt," before a guilty verdict can be reached.
Under Texas law, you can be brought to trial only after a formal complaint is filed. The complaint is the document that alleges what you are alleged to have done, and the fact that such action is unlawful. You can be tried only for what is alleged in the complaint. Trials are conducted under the Code of Criminal Procedure as adopted by the Texas Legislature. These laws may be found in Chapter 45 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
You have the right to inspect the complaint before trial and have it read to you at the trial itself.
You are entitled to hear all testimony introduced against you.
You have a right to cross-examine any witness who testifies against you.
You have the right to testify in your own behalf. You also have the right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot be considered in determining your innocence or guilt of the charge.
You may call witnesses to testify in your own behalf at the trial, and have the right to have the Court issue subpoenas to these witnesses to ensure their appearance at the trial.
Presenting the Case
As in all criminal trials, the State will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. You will have the right to cross-examine each prosecution witness. In other words, you can ask the witness questions about their testimony. However, you cannot argue with the witness. Your cross-examination of the witness must be in the form of questions only. Do not attempt to tell your version of the incident at this time - you will have an opportunity to do so later if you testify.
After the State has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witness who knows anything about the incident, but the witnesses can testify only about matters of which they have personal knowledge.
If you choose, you may testify in your own behalf. Since you are the defendant, you cannot be compelled to testify. It is your choice, you may do as you wish, and your silence cannot be used against you.
The State also has the right to cross-examine all witnesses called by you. If you testify in your own behalf, the State may cross-examine.
After testimony is concluded by both sides, you can make a closing argument by telling the Court why you feel that you are not guilty of the offense charged. But such statement can only be based on the testimony heard during the trial. Additional testimony is not admissible in the closing argument.
The verdict will be based on the testimony and the facts presented during the trial. In making the determination, the Judge or Jury can only consider the testimony of the witnesses who testify under oath. If found Not Guilty, you will be acquitted of the charges. If you are found Guilty, the Judge will announce the penalty at that time.
The amount of fine assessed by the court is affected only by the facts and circumstances of the case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine, even if you are guilty. On the other hand, aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. In no case may the fine exceed $200 for most traffic violations; $500 for certain penal code violations, and $200 to $2,000 for certain city ordinance violations. Please see Payment Options for an explanation on how to pay your citation, please contact the Municipal Court.
Court Costs will be charged if you are found guilty and assessed a fine, regardless of the amount. Court costs in the municipal court are set by the State, not by the court. Court costs must also be charged even if the fine is suspended and final disposition of your case is dismissed under the Deferred Disposition procedure. If an arrest warrant is issued, a warrant fee of $50, an OMNI fee of $30, and an FTA or VPTA fee of $140 will be added to the fine and court costs.
The Bedford Municipal Court is a Court of Record; all judgments, may be appealed in certain circumstances in accordance with procedures established by Subchapter KK, Chapter 30, Texas Government Code. Appeals are limited to a review of errors present in the record of the trial court.
You will not be given a new trial in the appellate court, although that court may order a new trial if your appeal is successful in certain particulars. A transcript and statement of facts will be necessary if you choose to appeal. You will be responsible for paying for the preparation of those items.
The Municipal Court has no jurisdiction over damages caused by an auto accident. Settlement of damages is a matter for a civil court to decide.
Directions from East of Bedford:
Take Airport Freeway (HWY 183/121) to the Central Drive/Forest Ridge Drive Exit. Proceed West on the access road to Forest Ridge Drive. Turn right onto Forest Ridge Drive and proceed to the Bedford Municipal Complex.
Directions from West of Bedford:
Take Airport Freeway to the Bedford Rd/Forest Ridge Drive Exit. Proceed East on the access road to Forest Ridge Drive. Turn left onto Forest Ridge Drive (at the underpass) and proceed to the Bedford Municipal Complex.
2000 Forest Ridge Dr. Bedford, TX. , 76021 (817) 952-2150 Building A (Downstairs)
Unless specifically noted, most violations are not eligible for dismissal by the court. By Law, those that are eligible can only be dismissed if the defendant takes very specific corrective action within a specified time. Below we have provided general information concerning the requirements for a dismissal. If you believe you qualify for a dismissal you must bring any receipts for repairs or renewals concerning when and how you corrected this defect to the Bedford Municipal Court. Most dismissals require that you pay a small fee at the time you appear at the court. See individual violations listed below for additional information.
Fail to Maintain Financial Responsibility (No Insurance)
Potential for Dismissal: The Defendant must appear at the Municipal Court office during normal business hours with proof of valid insurance covering the defendant on the date and at the time of the offense. A clerk will call to verify this information. The Defendant must appear at the court on or before the Court response date on the front of the citation to have the citation presented to the Judge for possible dismissal. There is no fee for a dismissal of this violation.
Expired Drivers License
Potential for Dismissal: Within 20 days of receiving the citation, the Defendant must present proof to the court that the Driver's License was renewed in order to be eligible to have the citation dismissed. There is a $10.00 fee for this dismissal.
Failure to Display Drivers License
If remedied within 20 days of receiving the citation, the Defendant must present proof to the court of an appropriate and valid Texas Drivers License issued in their name on or before the court appearance date on their citation to be eligible to have the citation dismissed.
Failure to Report Address or Name Change on Drivers License
Potential for Dismissal: The Defendant must present proof to the court that the address was corrected on the Drivers License no later than the 20th working day after receiving the citation in order to be eligible for a dismissal. There is a $10.00 fee for this dismissal.
Violation of Drivers License Restrictions
Potential for Dismissal: The Defendant must see the Judge and make appropriate arrangements with the Texas Department of Public Safety and have the restriction(s) removed or corrected before their first appearance in court in order to be eligible to have the citation dismissed. There is a $10.00 fee for this dismissal.
Expired License Plate/ Vehicle Registration
Potential for Dismissal: The dismissal fee is $10.00 if proof of registration is submitted in person to the Court on or before the Court response date on the front of the citation. This proof must demonstrate that the defect (violation) was corrected within 20 working days from the violation date. Required as proof - A dated Vehicle Registration Receipt indicating that the "penalty fee" was paid to County Tax Assessor.
Operating a Vehicle without Both License Plates
Potential for Dismissal: The Defendant must present proof to the court that the defect has been corrected on or before the court appearance date on the citation in order to be eligible for a dismissal. Proof would normally involve Photo's of the front and back license plates on the vehicle. The fee for this dismissal is $10.00.
Location of Court: We are located at 2000 Forest Ridge Drive, Bedford, Texas 76021.
Normal Business hours for the court: Monday - Friday 8:00AM to 5:00PM. You must appear during these hours to discuss a dismissal.
Court Appearance/Dress Code/Conduct
Please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to your scheduled court time, No children are allowed in court.
All persons present in the courtroom shall be clean, neat, and dressed in a manner that shows dignity and respect for the court.
Unacceptable dress code includes:
Shorts or cutoffs
Muscle shirts, T-shirts, or other clothing with offensive, vulgar, racist, sexist, obscene, or suggestive words, slogans, depictions, or pictures, that are dirty, torn and ragged.
Provocative clothing designed or styled, or worn to provoke emotion, disruption, or distraction.
PRO SE parties ( non-attorneys representing themselves) should be prepared to present their cases in a proper manner. It is NOT the Court's duty, nor the responsibility to protect or represent you, nor instruct you on court procedure, evidence, rules, or how to present and prove your case.
No electronic devices
Be on time as cases will be called at their designated times.
Do not argue with the Court.
Address the Court as "Judge", "Your Honor", or "Sir".
Do not lean on the Judge's bench.
Do not read newspapers, magazines, periodicals, books, etc. in the courtroom.
No food or drinks are allowed in the courtroom.
Do not talk at the same time as the Court. Courtroom visitors should not engage in excessive, loud talk or conversation.
Racist, sexist, obscene, or profane language or gestures are prohibited unless it is pertinent to a case, and is elicited and quoting from the facts in the case.
Do not enter and depart the courtroom excessively.
Do not disrupt or distract the Court, Counsels, or other Court personnel.
All cell phones and pagers are to be turned off.
The Bedford Municipal Court accepts the following forms of payment:
MasterCard or VISA (When paying in person with a credit card, the person named on the card must appear in person at Court to pay with that card.)
The Bedford Municipal Court accepts payment:
In Person - Hours of operation are Monday to Friday 8:00AM - 5:00PM.
Online - Fines may be paid over the Internet, 24 hours a day using a MasterCard or VISA. To pay by Internet, please select here. If you are having trouble making a web payment please read the following:
- Tickets that have been represented by attorneys and juveniles 17 & under cannot be paid online.
- Your broswer must accept pop-ups.
Only payments for the FULL fine amount will be accepted using the Internet.
You CANNOT use this service to make a partial payment.
You CANNOT use this service to pay a cash bond.
You CANNOT use this service to pay any dismissal fee.
You CANNOT use this service to pay any alternative sentencing option such as deferred disposition or driver's safety course.
Your payment will be recorded as a plea of "Guilty/No Contest".
Defendants who have a Alias Warrant(s), have failed to make an appearance before the court on a ticket. You have the following options:
Come in to the municipal court and post a cash bond to secure a court date. A cash bond is simply a way of having the warrant recalled and agreeing to appear before the court on a specific date to enter a plea.
If you simply wish to plead guilty and pay the fine please contact the court for the exact amount due. You must send in a written plea of guilty and no personal checks are accepted.
Payments are accepted in Cash, Credit Card (MasterCard/Visa), Money Order, and Cashiers’ Check only!
Deferred Disposition is a form of probation, which allows for dismissal of a citation if certain criteria are met.
Overview of Deferred Disposition:
With successful completion of Deferred Disposition, there is not a final conviction and the complaint may not be used against you for any purpose. A conviction will not be reported.
The probationary period is 90 to 180 days and begins when the fees are paid. Do NOT use the on-line Internet payment system for payment of your Deferred Disposition/Probationary fees.
If you were under 25 years of age at the time of the alleged offense and charged with a moving violation, you will be required to complete a driver's safety course within 60 days as a term of your probation.
You are NOT Eligible for Deferred Disposition if:
You were charged with speeding 25 miles or more over the speed limit.
You are charged with a violation in a construction or maintenance work zone when workers are present.
You hold a Commercial Driver’s License.
To Apply for Deferred Disposition, You Must:
Appear on or before the appearance date on your citation
Enter a plea of Guilty or No Contest
Pay the deferred fees in full. In most cases the deferred fee is the standard fine amount including court costs. Do NOT use the on-line Internet payment system for payment of your Deferred Disposition/Probationary fees.
A juvenile is a person between 10 and 17 years of age.
The parent or guardian must come in person with the juvenile to set a court date.
Juveniles MUST appear in court with a parent or guardian.
A Minor is a person under the age of 21 years.
If you are a minor between the ages of 17 and 20 and have been charged with an alcohol or tobacco related offense, you must appear at the court by the appearance date on your citation and request a court date.
If you are 18 years of age and still in high school you must appear in court.
Cases heard by the Bedford Municipal Court are Class C misdemeanor violations that are punishable by fine only. Jurors are selected from a random list of voter registrations. Jury service is normally for one day, and jurors are paid $6.00 per day.
Jurors serving are to appear at 2000 Forest Ridge Dr. at 8:00 a.m.
No Shorts, No Hats, No Tank Tops are allowed in the courtroom.
The following persons, by statute, AND NO OTHERS, may claim an exemption from jury service if the person wishes to do so:
1. Persons over (70) years of age;
2. Persons who have legal custody of a child or children under the age of 12 years if jury service by that person would necessitate leaving the child or children without adequate supervision;
3. All students of public or private secondary school;
4. Every person who is enrolled and in actual attendance at an institution of higher education.
5. Persons who are the primary caretaker of a person who is an invalid unable to care for himself or herself;
6. An officer or an employee of the Senate, House of Representatives or any department, commission, board, office, or other agency in the legislative branch of state government; or
7. He or she has served as a petit juror in the county during the 24-month period preceding the date he/she is to appear for jury service. (Only applies to counties with population at least 200,000 unless the county uses a jury plan under 62.011, Government Code, and the period authorized under Section 62.011(b)(6) exceeds two years.)
8. No longer reside in Bedford
9. Not a citizen of the United States
Qualifications For Jury Service To be qualified to serve as a juror you must (Texas Government Code, Section 62.102):
Be at least 18 years of age.
Be a citizen of this state and a resident of this city in which you are to serve as a juror.
Be qualified under the Constitution and laws to vote in the county in which you are to serve as a juror (Note: You do not have to be registered to vote to be qualified to vote)
Be of sound mind and good moral character.
Be able to read and write.
Not have served as a juror for six days during the preceding three months in the county court or during the preceding six months in the district court.
Not have been convicted of, or be under indictment or other legal accusation for, misdemeanor theft or a felony.
Excuses for other reasons should be proposed to the court at the call of the jury roll.
If you wish to claim a statutory exemption, you should print out this page, complete the following affidavit and mail it IMMEDIATELY to the court at: City of Bedford Municipal Court, 2000 Forest Ridge Drive, Bedford, Texas 76021. If you should have any questions pertaining to this summons contact the court at 817-952-2151.
AFFIDAVIT FOR EXEMPTION
I do solemnly swear that I am exempt from jury service for the reason indicated above. (Circle Exemption claimed above.)
Signed on this the _________ day of ____________________, 20___.
Failure to appear for jury service may result in a $100 fine for contempt.
Linebarger, Goggan, Blair & Sampson, LLP
Attorneys at Law
P.O. Box 702118
San Antonio, Texas 78270
Red light Camera Enforcement
Red Light Camera Violations are not processed by the City of Bedford Municipal Court. Once the violation has been reviewed and approved by a City of Bedford police officer,
the Notice of Violation is issued by our red light photo enforcement vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems.
If you have questions about the Notice of Violation , please contact the Redflex Customer Service Center.
Redflex Customer Service Center
7018 Baker Blvd.
Richland Hills, TX 76118
817-595-5760 or 877-245-2422
PAYMENT IS TO BE MADE BY ONE OF THE FOLLOWING METHODS:
By Mail: City of Bedford Photo Enforcement
Program Payment Center
P.O. Box 76940
Cleveland, OH, 44101
(Check; Money Order; Master or VISA Card only)
In Person: Customer Service Center 817-595-5760 or 877-245-2422
7018 Baker Blvd.
Richland Hills, TX 76118
(Check; Money Order; Master or VISA Card only)
On-Line: photonotice.com (Enter city code:BDFDTX)
(VISA or Master Card Only)
Make Check or Money Order payable to:
City of Bedford Photo Red Light Enforcement Program
Moving Violations Convictions
The Driver Responsibility Program (DRP) establishes a system that authorizes the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to assess surcharges to an individual based on certain traffic offenses that have occurred on or after September 1, 2003. Individuals are notified by mail each time a surcharge is added to their driver record. Surcharges are in addition to other fees and do not replace a suspension, revocation, denial, disqualification or cancellation resulting from the same conviction.
This program was developed to encourage safe driving habits. It requires DPS to assess surcharges to individuals based on certain traffic offenses. These surcharges are assessed in two ways, a point system, and conviction based.
Points are assessed for Texas or out-of-state moving violation convictions: two (2) points for a conviction, and three (3) points for a conviction that resulted in a crash. Individuals are assessed a point surcharge annually if they have six (6) or more points on their driver record. For each consecutive 12 month period that an individual does not receive any points for a moving violation, one (1) point will be deducted from the individualís total points.
A Conviction based surcharge is a result of being convicted of any of the following; Driving While Intoxicated, No Driver License, Driving While License Invalid, and No Insurance. Points are not assessed for these offenses. A conviction based surcharge will be assessed annually for three (3) years from the date of conviction. An individual also has the option to pay all three (3) years at once.
DPS offers programs that may reduce or waive surcharges. For more information about DRP, along with details on available surcharge discounts and other surcharge assistance programs, please visit, www.dps.gov