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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. What is the function of the City Prosecutors’ Office?
The City Prosecutors’ Office is responsible for prosecuting all Class C misdemeanors (traffic and non-traffic) and city ordinance violations that occur within the city limits that are filed in Municipal Court by the City of Corpus Christi Police Department, Code Enforcement Officers from Neighborhood Services, Animal Care Services and other City departments. The Prosecutors’ Office does not provide legal advice, opinions or assistance to defendants or private citizens because the prosecutors strictly represent the State of Texas in criminal prosecution. For legal advice, please contact the Nueces County Legal Aid Division at (361) 888-0282
2. Where is the City Prosecutors’ Office located?
The Prosecutors’ Office is located on the second (2nd) floor of Municipal Court or the Police Department building at 120 North Chaparral, Room 240.
3. Whom do I contact for information regarding a court date or paying a fine?
For information regarding cases that are filed in Municipal Courts, contact the Municipal Court customer service call center at (361) 826-2500 or you can visit in person at 120 North Chaparral, 1st floor. Before you call or visit in-person, please be prepared to provide as much information as possible to help identify the case: type of case or charges, case number, name and date of birth of the defendant, date of offense, etc. Only the named defendant and/or his/her attorney can resolve cases.
Witnesses and/or victims may contact the City Prosecutors’ Office at (361) 826-2530. Defendants and all others, please contact Municipal Court and not the Prosecutors’ Office.
4. Whom do I contact if I cannot afford to hire an attorney to represent me?
Majority of the defendants in municipal courts represent themselves (“pro se”) because cases that are filed in municipal courts are fine only cases; therefore, the Court cannot appoint an attorney to represent you. Should you need legal assistance, you may contact the Nueces County Legal Aid at (361) 888-0282. If you are not qualified for Legal Aid and need an attorney, contact the Lawyer Referral at (361) 883-3971.
5. Can I drop charges in a case for which I am the victim?
Although the victim participation is mandatory and important, in Texas, once a case is filed, it is up to the State of Texas to proceed on the charge and the victim has no authority over the course of the proceedings. A victim may request the charge to be dropped, but it can only be dropped by a prosecutor after a thorough examination/evaluation of the case and evidence. In general, the prosecution must go forward despite a victim’s request to drop charges to ensure the safety and protection of the victim and the community at large.
6. What if I witness a violation of city ordinances or a Class C misdemeanor?
If you personally witness a violation of city ordinances or Class C misdemeanor offenses, you should report that violation to the proper authorities (i.e. Code Enforcement or Police Department). The Prosecutors’ Office is not an investigative body or agency and does not have the resources to do independent investigation.
7. How can I get a copy of the City of Corpus Christi Code of Ordinances?
Official copies of all ordinances and resolutions are kept on file with the office of the City Secretary. However, copy of the ordinances is also available on the web on the City web site (Go)
8. What can I do about barking dogs or animals running loose in my neighborhood?
Barking Dogs: You may fill out the Nuisance Complaint Form for the excessive barking and the Prosecutors’ Office will send a courtesy letter to the owner(s). No anonymous complaint will be processed.
Stray Animals: You may call Animal Care Services at (361) 826-CITY.
9. What citations can be dismissed and how?
The most common citations that are dismissed by the Court are:
a. Failure to establish financial responsibility (Sec. 601.191 T.C.): must provide the court satisfactory evidence of valid proof of financial responsibility (i.e. a motor vehicle liability insurance policy, etc.) under Sec. 601.053(a) T.C., that was valid and in effect at the time of the arrest or citation.
10. How can I keep a citation from affecting my driving record?
If you are eligible and/or qualified, the Court provides two methods to keep citations or criminal charges from adversely affecting your driving or criminal record.
a. Defensive driving/safety course: pay court costs and applicable fee, and take a state (Texas Education Agency) approved driver’s safety course within 90 days and return to court with a uniform certificate of completion of driving safety course, and driving record
Upon successful completion of the terms and/or conditions ordered by the Court, the case will be dismissed.
11. What are the standard eligibility and/or qualification requirements for defensive driving/safety course or deferred disposition?
a. Must not have been cited with speeding 95 miles per hour or more, or 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit, or involve in a serious traffic violation, passing school bus (Sec. 545.066), accident involving damage to vehicle (Sec. 550.022), duty to give information and render aid (Sec. 550.023), offense occurred in construction or maintenance work zone when workers are present (Sec. 542.404)
Do Not take defensive driving/safety course until or unless you receive a court order allowing you to do so.
12. Do I have to register and vaccinate my dog and cat each year?
Yes. All dogs and cats over four (4) months of age must be vaccinated against rabies and registered with the city each year. You must show a rabies certificate to register your pet with the city.
13. How can I contest a traffic/parking citation?
You must enter a plea of not guilty. Upon receiving a not guilty plea, the court will schedule a mandatory pre-trial hearing. At pre-trial, if you still wish to contest your citation, you should enter a plea of not guilty and request a trial before a jury, or waive your constitutional right to a jury trial and request a bench trial (judge trial).
14. What is a pre-trial hearing?
A pre-trial hearing is a court proceeding in which a decision is made to either set a case for trial or enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere (“no contest”). It is not a trial and is not the time when evidence can be presented. The court does not accept testimony or evidence. The parties do not have to bring witnesses or exhibits to the pre-trial hearing, but if you have any motion you may file it.
|15. What is the difference between a "bench trial" and a "jury trial"?|
A case that goes to trial will be heard by a judge in a "bench trial," or by a judge and jury in a "jury trial." In a jury trial, the judge decides the law, while the jury decides the facts. In a bench trial, the judge decides both the law and the facts.
16. What happens if I cannot come on my court date?
|If you fail to appear for a scheduled hearing or trial, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest. If you wish to change a court date, file a written Motion for Continuance (postponement) with the court at least five (5) working days before the scheduled trial or hearing. The judge will decide/rule on your Motion. If the Motion is granted then the case is reset to a later date. However, if the Motion is denied and you failed to appear on the scheduled court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest and/or the court may require you to post bond to reset the case.|
|17. How can I get a copy of a police or accident report?|
|Citizens can either request a copy of their report at the front counter of the Police Department Central Records Division located at 321 John Sartain, make a written request by mail, or request report (depending on type of report) through Public Information Act (PIA). Requestors are required to pay the appropriate fees for copies. An accident report may be obtained no earlier than three (3) working days after the accident report, and can take as long as 10 working days for it to be filed if amendments and corrections are needed to be made.|
|18. How do I make an accident report?|
|You must call the police dispatch at (361) 886-2600 or 9-1-1 for an accident that has injuries or is a hazard. The report must be made at the time of the accident and the drivers and passengers should remain at the scene of the accident unless being transported to the hospital.|
|19. What happens if I am not at fault in an accident and the insurance information I was given is not valid?|
|Generally, if you have full coverage and/or uninsured and underinsured motor vehicle insurance the company will pay for your damage and pursue civilly against the uninsured driver. If you do not have coverage than you must pursue in civil court and obtain a judgment for the damages to your vehicle/car, property and/or medical costs. You may take the certified copy of the judgment to the Texas Department of Public Safety Driver License Bureau and pursue a S.R. (safety responsibility) suspension of the persons driving privilege.|
|20. Who can park in accessible parking spaces?|
|To park in one of these spaces, a vehicle/car must display one of the following:|
a. A special license plate with the symbol of accessibility
b. A red or blue parking placard that hangs down from the vehicle/car rear-view mirror
c. A “Disabled Veteran” with “U.S. Armed Forces” on license plate
It is a violation of the law to park vehicle in an accessible parking space
(1) without displaying the appropriate plate or placard, even if a driver or a passenger of the vehicle has a disability
(2) neither the driver nor any passenger has a disability, even if the vehicle displays the appropriate plate or placard
(3) a vehicle with a placard or plate that is expired
(4) placard or plate that belongs to someone who is not a driver or passenger in the vehicle
(5) lend a parking placard to an individual without a disability who uses that placard to violate state law
(6) steal or counterfeit a parking placard or license plate
(7) park a car in such a way that it blocks access to a accessible parking space, access aisle, or any architectural improvement that provides access for people with disabilities, such as a ramp or curb cut
Violations of these laws are punishable by the seizure of the parking placard and by fine:
(a) 1st offense: $250-$500
(b) 2nd offense: $300-$600
(c) 3rd offense: $300-$600
(d) 4th offense: $500-$1000 plus 20-50 hours of community service
(e) 5th offense: $1000 plus 50 hours of community service
|21. What do I do when my fifteen (15) years old son received a daytime curfew citation?|
Defendants who are sixteen (16) years of age or younger at the time of violation must appear at Municipal Juvenile Court with a parent or guardian. The Court is located at 226 Enterprize Parkway, Suite 103, between Old Brownsville Road and Bear Lane, near West Oso High School. If you need to appear before the Judge or speak to a Prosecutor, please contact the Court to verify docket times or to set an appointment.