To avoid trial, plead guilty or no contest. However, if you believe that you didn’t break the law, you can plead not guilty and go to trial.
Plead Guilty or No Contest
With a plea of guilty or no contest, you’ll simply pay the fine. For violations that occurred on Texas highways, you can pay them online at the Texas Department of Public Safety. For violations that occurred on municipal streets, your traffic ticket should have information on how to pay it.
Not Guilty Plea
If you plead not guilty, the state will have to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that you are guilty in order to convict you. From there, the process will have two parts:
- Pre-trial conference: You’ll be able to decide if you want a trial by judge or jury, and whether you want to hire an attorney to represent you. You’ll have a chance to explain your side of the story, and the prosecutor will give you options like a plea bargain or a driving safety course. They may recommend that the state dismiss the charge. The pre-trial is your last chance to accept the plea bargain. If you don’t, you’ll continue to a trial.
- Trial: During the trial, the state files a sworn complaint against you. You can either represent yourself (pro se) or hire an attorney. If you’re found guilty, you may have to pay the maximum fine plus any additional fees for office overtime, jury fees, etc. If you’re found not guilty, you won’t have to pay any fines or fees.5