BALCONES HEIGHTS MUNICIPAL COURT
IF YOU RECEIVE A CITATION, YOU ARE REQUIRED TO ATTEND AT THE TIME AND DATE LISTED ON THE CITATION.
IF YOU ARE SCHEDULED FOR AN APPEARANCE IN THE BALCONES HEIGHTS MUNICIPAL COURT, AND ARE AN INDIVIDUAL WHO WOULD BE CONSIDERED BY THE COURT A MEMBER OF A VUNERABLE POPULATION - YOU CAN REQUEST AN ACCOMODATION FROM THE COURT ALLOWING YOU TO APPEAR VIA PHONE OR VIDEO TELECONFERENCE. (Vunerable population description listed below).
SHOULD YOU RECEIVE PERMISSION TO ACCESS TO YOUR COURT HEARING VIA INTERNET FOLLOW THESE STEPS:
- Click this link JOIN YOUR COURT HEARING
- Enter your Meeting ID #
ACCESS YOUR COURT HEARING VIA PHONE CALL:
- Dial 1-253-215-8782 or 1-301-715-8592
- Using your keypad enter your Meeting ID number followed by the # (pound sign)
- Enter # (pound sign) once more.
COURT HEARING PROCEDURE:
- The Court will be called to Order.
- The Court will make opening remarks to assist the Defendants to understand the procedure, inform the Defendants of your constitutional rights.
- Explain the right to have a jury trial or a non-jury trial.
- Explain the different pleas (guilty, not guilty and no contest).
- Explain the options available for Commercial Driver's License (CDL) holders.
- Explain the options for Defendants under the age of 25.
- Ways to ultimately have your ticket(s)/citation(s) dismissed.
- Explain time pay in the event the defendant cannot pay their fines on the court date.
Appropriate attire to see the Judge:
Clean and dressed in a manner that shows dignity and respect for the court. Unacceptable attire includes: shorts; cut-offs; pants worn below the waistline; flip flop style shoes; t-shirts; muscle shirts; tube tops; halter tops; athletic/gymnasium attire; tank tops; caps; hats; drooping/saggy pants; and clothing indicating gang affiliation or containing offensive, vulgar, racist, sexist, or obscene language. Any defendant improperly dressed in accordance with our dress code will not be allowed into the courtroom, and their case(s) will be reset.
Hours: Monday - Thursday 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. *Friday 7:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Address: 3300 Hillcrest Drive, Balcones Heights, TX 78201 - Phone: 210-957-3060 - Website: www.bhtx.gov
City officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 updates. Our main concern is for the health and well-being of the community and are committed to making the best decisions for all. Click the following link for the Balcones Heights Municipal Court Operating Plan.
NOTICE TO INDIVIDUALS OF VUNERABLE POPULATIONS
The court considers all individuals who are over age 65 and individuals with serious underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer or other conditions requiring such therapy are considered to be vulnerable populations.
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Balcones Heights Municipal Court
3300 Hillcrest Dr.
Balcones Heights, TX 78201
A PHONE CALL WILL NOT CONSTITUTE AN APPEARANCE
ENSURE YOU DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR COURT
AVOID BRINGING SMALL CHILDREN TO COURT FOR THEIR SAFETY.
YOUR CHILDREN'S SAFETY IS IMPORTANT TO US
This information provided below is furnished as a courtesy of the court and does not constitute legal advice and does not cover all situations.
If your address is not correct on your citation you are required to furnish the Court with your Correct Mailing Address.
PLEASE READ BEFORE CALLING
1) This letter is furnished as a courtesy to you by the Municipal Court of Balcones Heights, Texas to assist you in making a disposition of the charges filed against you.
2) IF YOU WISH TO ENTER A PLEA OF GUILTY OR NOLO CONTENDERE, please indicate below in the proper space provided and remit the fine by Money Order or Cashier’s Check, in person or by US MAIL no later than the appearance date on your ticket.
3) The fine for a NOLO CONTENDERE plea is the same as that of a PLEA OF GUILTY. Either plea indicates that you agree to WAIVE appearance before the court for trial.
4) You must refer to the schedule of acceptable fines to determine the total amount of your fine(s) and costs assessed against you.
5) IF YOU WISH TO ENTER A PLEA OF NOT GUILTY and desire a trial, you must indicate in the proper space provided below. You will be notified by return mail of the court date set for your hearing. You have the right to a trial by jury, if you so request.
6) YOU MAY HAVE THE RIGHT TO REQUEST A DRIVING SAFETY COURSE, approved under the Texas Driver & Traffic Safety Education Act (Article 4413(29c), Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes only if you have not completed a course in the past 12 months prior to this citation.
You must apply with the following guidelines:
A. You must enter a PLEA OF GUILTY OR NOLO CONTENDERE
B. Request it on or before the due date and time shown on the citation
C. Request must be in person or in writing by mail
D. A Signed and notarized Affidavit (Page 4) that you are not currently taking a course or recently completed a course that has yet to appear on your driving record
E. Pay an administrative fee of $9.90 PLUS court costs of $99.10, for a total of $109.00. TO REQUEST A DRIVING SAFETY COURSE for Child Safety “Seat” Violation pay a total of $109.10. (CHECK, MONEY ORDER or CASHIER’S CHECK)
F. You must have a valid Texas Driver’s License or Permit. (Out of State-Active Duty Military may be eligible)
G. You must provide proof of financial responsibility (Copy of your Personal Liability Insurance Card)
H. NOT ELIGIBLE if cited 25 MPH or more over the speed limit, if you had an ACCIDENT or if you’re cited in a CONSTRUCTION ZONE
7) You have exactly 90 days from the date that the court grants permission to take a driving safety course and submit the certificate of completion (court copy) to the court. DO NOT SIGN UP FOR A COURSE UNTIL THE COURT HAS APPROVED YOU.
8) EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 2003 CDL drivers are NO LONGER ELIGIBLE for the Driving Safety Course.
9) If you receive a citation for NO LIABILITY INSURANCE proof must be shown with the effective date prior to the issuance of the citation and show proof to the Court prior to your appearance date, your case will be dismissed.
10) Charges for EXPIRED Motor Vehicle Inspection, Registration and Driver’s License if remedied before first court appearance of date of citation will be dismissed with a $20.00 (check, money order or cashier’s Check ) dismissal fee plus a copy of the receipt upon proof of renewal.
11) Defective/Required Equipment: Defendant presented evidence of remedied defect before Defendant's first court appearance and paid a $10.00 fee to the court. (Sec 547.004, TC)
12) IF YOU FAIL TO RESPOND TO THIS CHARGE BY THE APPEARANCE DATE ON THE CITATION, AN ADDITIONAL CHARGE WILL BE FILED AGAINST YOU FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR AND A WARRANT OR WARRANTS WILL BE ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST.
13) Make your remittance by Check, Cashier’s Check or Money Order made payable to the MUNICIPAL COURT. Return a copy of the citation and this letter with your remittance to assure proper credit, to the Municipal Court indicated on your citation. To get a receipt send a self addressed stamped envelope.
The City of Balcones Heights has signed a contract with the Texas Department of Public Safety (T.D.P.S.) to provide information that will DENY RENEWAL of driver's licenses to Texas drivers with unpaid traffic citations.
The court's contract allows participation in the Failure to Appear Program. The program denies the renewal of driver's licenses to persons who fail to appear in court in response to a traffic citation.
When the Texas Department of Public Safety receives information from the City of Balcones Heights that a driver is in violation of a Failure To Appear, a letter is mailed to the violator within 24 hours. The letter informs violators of their citation status and that they will be denied renewal of a driver's license if they do not pay their fine.
The City of Balcones Heights will issue Warrants for the Arrest of persons that fail to appear in court. There is no requirement in the Failure to Appear Program that a Warrant must be issued.
Citations which place a driver at risk of not receiving a license renewal are Class C Misdemeanor Traffic Violations. These violations regulate a driver's conduct or condition while operating a vehicle, or the condition of a motor vehicle while it is being driven. The misdemeanor does not apply to parking violations, but it can include some City Ordinances.
*This program, which falls under the provisions of the Vernon's Civil Statutes, Article 6687d, is available to all political subdivisions (cities and counties) in Texas.
- By Mail - Money Order, Cashier’s Check, or Personal Check
- In Person - Cash, Money Order, Cashier’s Check, Personal Check, or MasterCard or Visa - FACE MASKS MUST BE WORN UPON ENTRY - NO EXCEPTIONS
- Online Payment **NOTICE** This is NOT for Redlight Camera Tickets
****IMPORTANT INFORMATION ****
- PERSONAL CHECKS ARE NOT ACCEPTED ON WARRANTS.
- JUVENILES (UNDER 17 YEARS OF AGE) MUST APPEAR ON THEIR COURT DATE WITH A PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN.
- IT IS A MANDATORY COURT APPEARANCE FOR MINORS (UNDER 21 YEARS OF AGE) ON CRIMINAL OR ALCOHOL RELATED OFFENSES.
- MUNCIPAL COURT IS HELD EVERY WEDNESDAY, UNLESS OTHERWISE WRITTEN ON THE CITATION. CHECK IN TIME IS BETWEEN 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
- Juveniles: The law requires ALL juveniles (16 and under) to appear before the judge with a parent or legal guardian regardless of offense.
- Minors (17-20) charged with alcohol/tobacco/drug paraphernalia/theft or disorderly conduct offenses must also appear before the judge. If you are under the age of 18, you must appear with a parent of legal guardian.
Alcohol & Tobacco Offenses
In addition to paying a fine/fee, these two offenses have specific requirements i.e., alcohol or tobacco awareness course and community service, that if not completed will result in your driver’s license being suspended or denied issuance of a driver’s license or permit for a period up to six months.
Court personnel are prohibited in advising or assisting you in the preparation of your petition for expunction. You have a constitutional right to retain legal counsel at your own expense or you can represent yourself in this action as a “pro-se” defendant.
All procedures concerning expunction of any alcohol violation by a minor (under 21 years of age) shall comply with Section 106.12 of Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code.
All procedures concerning expunction of any tobacco violation by a minor (under 18 years of age) shall comply with section 161.255 of the Texas Health and Safety Code.
All procedures concerning expunction of penal violations by a juvenile (under 17 years of age) shall comply with Article 45.0216 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.
Some offenses may be dismissed with proof of compliance and a $10.00-$20.00 dismissal fee.
- Expired Registration: The Court may dismiss with a $20.00 fee if registration is renewed within 20 business days of the citation or first court appearance date, whichever comes first, and you provide a copy of the registration receipt to the Court that clearly identifies the vehicle and indicates payment of the required penalty fee to the Tax Assessor. When you renew your registration, you MUST inform them you received a citation so that they assess this penalty fee.
- Expired Driver’s License: The Court may dismiss with a $20.00 fee, if the license is renewed within 20 business days of the citation, and you provide a copy of your new license to the Court no later than your due date.
- Expired Disabled Parking Placard: The Court shall dismiss with $20 fee, if the disabled parking placard is renewed within 20 business days of the citation, and you provide a copy of your new placard.
- Fail to Display Registration: The Court may dismiss with a $10.00 fee if registration was current and if registration is properly placed on vehicle before the defendant’s first court appearance with proper receipt showing date prior to citation.
- Display Canceled License Plates: The Court may dismiss with a $10 fee if the defendant shows that vehicle was issued plates establishing that the vehicle was registered for the period during which the offense was committed, and the plates are attached to the vehicle before the defendant’s first court appearance.
- Operating Vehicle without Two License Plates: The Court may dismiss with a $10 fee if the defect is remedied before the defendant’s first court appearance.
Fail to do Items
- Fail to Report Change of Name/Address on Driver’s License: The Court may dismiss with a $20.00 fee if the change of address is filed with the Department of Public Safety (DPS) within 20 business days and proof is shown to the Court before defendant’s first court appearance.
- Fail to Maintain Financial Responsibility (Insurance): Citations for no proof of insurance will be dismissed at no charge upon presentation to the Court of proof that the driver or vehicle was covered by a valid liability insurance policy at the time cited. The Court will verify insurance coverage was in place.
- Fail to Display Driver’s License: The Court may dismiss with a $10.00 fee upon presentation of a driver’s license that was valid at the time the citation was issued.
Guilty/ No Contest
By a plea of guilty, you admit the act is prohibited by law and that you committed the act charged. A plea of guilty may be used against you later in a civil suit if there was a traffic accident (another party can say you were at fault or responsible for the accident because you plead guilty to the traffic charge). A plea of no contest means that you do not contest the State’s charge against you. A plea of no contest may not be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages. With a plea of guilty or no contest you have the following options:
Pay Fine (Conviction)
- Pay Fine in Full: Payment in full online constitutes a plea of “no contest” and will result I the offense being reported as a conviction. Pay online.
- Payment Methods: You may pay in person, by mail, or online. We accept cash, checks, money orders, Visa, and Master Card. Please make checks or money orders payable to Balcones Heights Municipal Court.
Driver Safety Course
If you were charged with a moving violation you may be eligible to take a six-hour driving safety course or motorcycle operator’s course in order to dismiss the charge. The request must be made on or before the appearance date noted on your citation. You must receive court approval prior to taking the course. The violation will be dismissed if you successfully complete the driving safety course and submit a certified copy of your driver record as maintained by the Department of Public Safety in Austin within 90 days of your approval date.
Have NOT taken a course within the 12 months preceding the date of the citation.
Have a valid Texas driver’s license or military identification card.
Have current proof of auto insurance.
Pay fees of $109. or $134.00 if offense was in a School Zone.
Held a commercial driver’s license at the time cited or hold one now.
Speeding 25 mph or more over the posted speed limit.
Speeding in a construction zone while workers were present.
Passing a school bus.
Read and submit the Defensive Driving Safety Course Form.
Failure to dispose of your citation in a timely manner will result in a warrant be issued for your arrest. When a warrant is issued, the fine is set to the maximum allowed by law, an additional $50 warrant fee is added, and an additional $30 OmniBase fee is added to suspend or deny issuance of your driver’s license. Also a 30% increase will be assessed per case once the citations have been in active warrant status for a period of around 6 months from warrant issue date.
Paying a Warrant Online
You may pay an active warrant using the online payment system but the warrant remains active until the court has processed your payment and recalled the warrant. The DPS hold will be lifted until full balance is paid and may take up to three business days.
If you area found guilty and are not satisfied with the judgment of the court, you have the right to appeal. Since the Balcones Heights Municipal Court is not a court of record, an appeal is to the Bexar County Court and is a “trial de novo,” which means the case is tried over again as if the trial in Municipal Court never occurred.
How to Appeal
To appeal your case, you must give a notice of appeal and post an appeal bond with the Court within 10 calendar days of the judgment. The appeal bond is twice the amount of the fine and court costs.