Clay County Texas
Justice of the Peace - FAQ
This information is provided as a guide for the public. The Court is not allowed by law to provide legal advice.
Can I talk to the Judge about my case?
No, the Judge is barred by law from talking to either side of a case without the other person (or persons) present. That is considered a one-sided conversation (ex-parte).
I just received a ticket. What are my options?
Please see the “What does a plea mean” to review some options. If you have a CDL, please contact the Court.
Additional options that maybe available:
Pay the acceptable fine and court cost, as directed by the Court (this may or may not affect your driving record and/or insurance).
Request the Driving Safety Course if you have not had a Driving Safety Course in the last 12 months to have a ticket dismissed. You will pay the Court Costs as well as the fee to the company that teaches the class and you must obtain a copy of your driving record.
Request Deferred Disposition (a type of probation), please call the court to see if you are eligible and what the fine and court costs would be.
Request your case be set for pretrial, jury trial or bench trial. All cases are set for pre-trial first to give you an opportunity to speak to the County Attorney regarding your case and determine if an agreement can be reached.
How long does it take for the Court to get the ticket?
Typically, it takes 7-10 days before the Court gets the information on a ticket.
Can I take care of someone else's ticket?
Only the person receiving the ticket can enter a plea. Once a plea is entered, anyone can make required payments.
I am under the age of 17. Can I take care of my ticket myself?
No, persons 16 years of age and under must call the Court and make an appointment to appear before the Judge. A parent or legal guardian must be with you when you appear.
What does a plea mean?
Citation and ticket are sometimes used to mean the same thing. A type of charge called a Class “C” Misdemeanor is punishable by fine only. Traffic violations are this type of charge.
In most cases, the defendant (violator) is given a citation which is basically a notice of the charges filed, who they need to contact about the charges (Court) and the date by which they need to make that contact (appearance date).
When the defendant contacts the Court, they will be asked to enter a “plea”. A plea can be “guilty” (admitting to the charge), “nolo contendere” (no contest – not admitting guilt but not contesting the charge) or “not guilty” (saying the charge is not true).
A plea of “guilty” or “no contest” will result in a finding of guilty by the Court and a penalty will be assessed.
A plea of “not guilty” will result in a trial by judge or jury being set.
Do I have to come to Court?
The Defendant must appear either in person, by mail or through an attorney. Minors (under the age of 17) must appear before the Court with a parent or legal guardian.
When do I have to come to Court?
The citation will have an “on or before” date for appearance. However, if the date falls on a weekend, holiday, or day the court is closed for some unexpected reason, the appearance date will fall on the next business day.
Can I get an extension of my date to appear?
The Court will work with you, but you must contact the Court prior to the original date.
What if I decide to pay the fine?
If a defendant pays the fine without explanation, the Court is authorized to accept the fine and enter a conviction as though the defendant appeared and entered a plea of “nolo contendere” (no contest).
However, Minors (under the age of 17) must appear before the Court with a parent or legal guardian.
What if I cannot pay the fine?
If a defendant is unable to pay the fine, the court will work with the defendant to offer alternatives that may include but are not be limited to: (1) payment plan (2) community service. A request and explanation of circumstances must be made to the Court, in writing or in person.