City of Bogata Municipal Court
Presiding Judge:The Honorable Mark Whitehouse Court Clerk:
The three separate but equal branches of government are:
- Executive Branch (City Administrator and all departments)
- Legislative Branch (City Council)
- Judicial Branch (Municipal Court)
When You Are Charged
Persons charged are typically referred to by the Court as the “accused” or the “defendant”. All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by the Prosecution.
Generally, defendants must answer to the charges filed by either acknowledging guilt and paying the citation in full, including any applicable fines, costs, and fees via mail or online OR in person or by personally appearing at the Court within the timeframe allotted. Acceptable payment: check, money order, cashier's check, credit card, or cash. Some violations require a court appearance.
Failure to pay any citation or complaint or failure to appear by the designated court date may result in an order from the Court seeking the defendant’s arrest on a bench warrant. It may also result in the suspension of driving privileges for the accused with the State of Texas and/or their home state if not a resident of Texas.
Defendants who have warrants for failure to appear in Court have the right to post bond or bail to seek recall of the warrant and receive a new court date.
Mandatory Court Appearance Offenses
- Juvenile offenders under 17 must appear with a parent or guardian.
Sentences May Be Satisfied By
- Paying the fine in full
- Performing community service
- Serving time in jail
- Speaking with the Court for further options in your case
Prepare for Court
Persons attending court should dress appropriately. If at all possible, arrangements should be made for child care in advance. Food and drink are not allowed in the court room. All persons entering the court room are subject to search by the court bailiff. Concealed weapons are not allowed in the building. For complete courtroom rules and etiquette please click on appropriate tab below.
The City Attorney, Prosecution Division, will be available on court dates for your benefit.
Records Request or Searches
It is the policy of the City of Bogata Municipal Court, in full compliance with state law, to provide information upon proper request by defendants, their attorneys, interested persons, or the general public in compliance with the Discovery procedures outlined by the State of Texas.
An individual may call the City of Bogata Municipal Court Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm at (903) 632-5315 for further information to a case. At this time, a court clerk can verify if the information can or will be able to be released.
Subpoenas & Warrants
If a person receives a citation and pleads not guilty to the violation, their case will be set for a trial.
At that time, the defendant can subpoena any person, relevant to the case, or any organization that is relevant to the case. An example of an organization would be the phone company to subpoena phone records.
The Prosecutor will also subpoena the victim, the police officer, or any other person relevant to the case.
These persons will appear in court to testify on behalf of the Defendant or Prosecutor.
Outstanding Warrant Listing
There are four types of warrants:
2) Commitment/Capias Pro Fine
3) Failure to Appear/Violate Promise to Appear
Commitment warrants are issued for defendants who failed to pay their fines.
Failure to appear warrants are issued for any defendant who has signed their citation or continuance form and failed to appear in court.
Bench warrants are issued if the person has failed to comply with the Judge's direct order.
Types of Hearings
These hearings are designed to advise the defendant of his or her rights, provide a reading of the charges by the judge to the defendant, and seek a plea from the defendant.
A plea is the defendant’s answer to the charges. Generally, the pleas available to a defendant are:
- Not Guilty - This plea is entered to inform the Court that the defendant disagrees with the charges and desires to have a trial in front of a judge or jury. Defendants entering a not guilty plea will be set for trial and the defendant must appear for trial.
- Guilty - This plea constitutes an admission by the defendant of the charges and material facts alleged by the Prosecution. If a guilty plea is entered, then the judge will enter a finding of guilt and impose a sentence.
- Nolo Contendere meaning "No Contest" - This plea is entered if the defendant accepts conviction as though a guilty plea had been entered in a criminal prosecution but does not admit guilt to protect themselves in a civil case.
Defendants have the right not to testify at trial and the right not to make any incriminating statements should they choose to testify at trial because any testimony that is given can be used against them. Only defendants or licensed attorneys representing defendants can make arguments and presentations at trial.
The judge cannot act as the legal advisor for defendants. Defendants, if they choose to present a defense, are required to present their cases within the confines of the law, court rules, and criminal procedure.
The prosecution and the defendant can present evidence, including witness testimony, but the burden of proof - beyond a reasonable doubt - is the prosecutor’s obligation to meet.
The judge or jury will review all of the evidence presented and compare it to the applicable law(s) to reach a decision. Typically, the judgment is pronounced on the day of trial, but in some rare instances the judge may take matters under advisement for determination at a later date.
Both the defendant and the prosecutor have the right to request subpoenas from the Court seeking to have witnesses compelled to appear for and present testimony during trial. Subpoena requests must be fully completed and submitted to the Court no less than fourteen (14) days before trial.
Defendants have the right to review prosecution evidence prior to trial - this right is called “discovery”. Defendants desiring discovery must submit a written request to the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office within ten (10) days before the date of the trial.
The City Attorney, Prosecution Division, will be available at each Court session.
Persons found guilty by plea or at trial must be sentenced. Sentencing can occur on the date of arraignment, the date of trial, or may be scheduled for a future setting by the judge. The option of sentencing by a jury must be selected prior to the beginning of the trial or “voir dire’. If found guilty, a judgement ranging from $1 to $500 in addition to all court costs can be imposed.
Each defendant who is found guilty has the right to appeal his/her conviction to Red River County District Court. Appeals must be filed within ten (10) days after sentencing in Municipal Court. Moreover, the defendant has the right to be represented by an attorney on appeal. An appeal bond will be set by the court.
Defendants also have the right to seek expungement of certain conviction records. Generally, an expungement is the process by which records of criminal arrests or convictions are destroyed or sealed after an expiration of time. For additional information concerning applications for expungement, please contact the Municipal Court Clerk’s Office.