A trial in municipal court is a fair, impartial and public trial as in any other court. Under Texas law, you may be brought to trial only after a sworn complaint is filed against you. A complaint is a document that alleges the act you are supposed to have committed and that the act is unlawful. You may be tried only for what is alleged in the complaint. You have the following rights in court:
- The right to have notice of the complaint not later than the day before the trial.
- The right to inspect the complaint before trial and have it read to you at trial;
- The right to have your case tried before a jury;
- The right to hear all testimony introduced against you;
- The right to cross-examine witnesses who testify against you;
- The right to testify in your behalf;
- The right to not testify, if you so desire. If you choose not to testify, your refusal to do so may not be held against you in determining you innocence or guilt; and
- You may call witnesses to testify in your behalf at he trial, and have the court issue a subpoena to any witnesses to ensure their appearance at the trial.
If you choose to have the case tried before a jury, you have the right to question jurors about their qualifications to hear your case. If you think that a juror will not be fair, impartial or unbiased, you may ask the judge to excuse the juror. The judge will decide whether or not to grant your request. In each jury trial, you are also permitted to strike three members of the jury panel for any reason you choose, except an illegal reason (such as a strike based solely upon a person’s race or gender).