On any traffic offense, you have the absolute right to plead Not Guilty and request a trial.
If you wish to plead Not Guilty, you may request a trial by Judge or Jury. That choice is yours. You are not required to have an attorney in Court, but you may hire one if you wish. The District Attorney of Hopkins County will have an attorney present to prosecute the case against you. The Judge is prohibited, by law, from discussing your ticket with you unless you have pled guilty or no contest or the District Attorney is also present.
If you choose to go to Court, you are responsible for bringing all papers, pictures and exhibits with you to the Court hearing. You may also contact the Court for information on how to subpoena witnesses.
You may also plead Guilty or Nolo Contendre (No Contest) and pay the fine amount listed below, or you may refer to the Defensive Driving option listed below. Drivers under 17 who get tickets are required to appear in Court with their parents.
If you choose to plead Guilty or Nolo Contendre (No Contest), you may pay your fine in person at the JP Office designated on the ticket.
How much is it if I want to pay the fine?
To determine your fine amount you may go to the website http://www.hopkinscountyonline.net/jop
and enter your ticket information or your identifying information. Should you pay the fine on-line there is a 5.5% convenience fee that will be charged to you. If you come into the Justices of the Peace offices to pay your fine, no additional fees will be charged to you.
What about defensive driving?
If you have not taken Defensive Driving in the last twelve months, you may wish to take the course to keep the offense off your record. You are not allowed to take defensive driving for some offenses, including, but not limited to, speeding more than 24 miles per hour over the limit, passing a school bus, fleeing a police officer, and certain other offenses. If the Department of Public Safety refuses to accept the defensive driving course because your record reflects you have had one within the last twelve months, a warrant may be issued for your arrest. You must receive permission from the Court to complete the course. The traffic offense will be dismissed if you take the course and present proof to the Court. To apply for defensive driving, you must do the following:
- Call the Court in which your ticket was issued to determine the amount of the Defensive Driving fee and then pay the fee using Cash, Money Order, Check, Visa or Master Card.
- Submit the payment, the ticket, driver's license and proof of insurance to the Court in person or by mail. The insurance must have the phone number, name of your insurance company, effective dates and you must be listed as a driver to be considered valid.
- The Court also needs a copy of your valid Texas Driver's license.
- Also include the signed and notarized Defensive Driving Request Affidavit.
The course must be state approved. YOU are responsible for making
sure the course is completed and that the Court receives proof that you
took the course. If the Court has not received proof of a defensive
driving course within the time prescribed by law, a warrant may be
issued for your arrest and fees will be assessed.
How do I keep this off my record?
In some circumstances, you may request deferred disposition from the Court. If you have a good driving record and you are not currently on deferred disposition, you may make a request to the Court. Deferred Disposition means you will be placed on probation for a period of up to 90 days. If you successfully complete the probationary period without receiving a moving violation anywhere in the State of Texas, the original charge will be dismissed. You must also provide the Court with proof of insurance.
Deferred disposition is on the approval of the Judge. It is normally $100 over the fine with 90 days probation.
I got a ticket for an expired Inspection certificate, expired driver's license or expired license plate. Can it be dismissed?
If your expiration was less than 60 days and you get the problem fixed (new license, registration, inspection ticket) and present proof to the Court, the Judge will consider dismissal of the ticket with a $20 fee.
NOTE: The expired registration proof of renewal must include the penalty paid to the Department of Motor Vehicles when the registration is renewed. If the penalty is not paid, the Court cannot dismiss the citation. The inspection proof of correction must show that the vehicle passed the inspection.
What about no seat belt tickets?
The Court may allow a defendant to take defensive driving if the defendant would like to have a no seat belt ticket dismissed.