PLEA AND TRIAL
Each defendant must enter their plea to the charge: guilty, no contest (nolo Contendere) or not guilty.
Plea of Guilty: you admit that the act is prohibited by law and that you have no defense or excuse for the act. A plea of guilty can be used against you later in a civil suit.
Plea of Nolo Contendere (no contest): you do not contest the State's charge against you. You will most certainly be found guilty unless you are eligible and successful complete a drivers safety course and/or a court ordered probation. A plea of Nolo Contendere cannot be used against you in a civil suit.
Plea of Not Guilty: you are informing the Court that you deny any guilt or that you have a good defense in your case, and that the State must prove its case against you.
If a defendant wishes to enter a plea of not guilty, the court will schedule a jury trial unless the defendant waives the right to a jury and requests a trial by judge.
When a case goes to trial the defendant may either represent themselves or hire a lawyer to represent them. The State and the City of Horseshoe Bay will be represented by a prosecutor. The Judge cannot assist the defendant because the Judge is to remain neutral and impartial. If a defendant chooses to represent themselves in a trial they are called "Pro-se defendants" and they must read the Court's Local Rules of Decorum and Conduct and sign an acknowledgement of compliance and understanding before trial. Pro-se defendants are encouraged to observe at least one trial prior to theirs to gain a full understanding of the process.
Defendants should be aware if they are convicted at trial the Court may consider the full range of fines to be assessed. Additional fees may also be assessed which include: subpoena fees, jury fees, and officer overtime fees.