Do I have to appear in person during court proceedings for traffic tickets outside of Houston?

Got Traffic Tickets & Need A Lawyer?Everyone knows that “speed traps” are a real thing, where police monitor driver’s speeds with intense focus. If you have been caught in such a trap outside of Houston, the Eutsler Law Firm can provide legal assistance to anyone in Texas. The defendant may not have to worry about taking off work and driving for hours just to attend court. Courts that allow for in absentia (“in the absence”) defense have given defendants and their attorneys additional flexibility in contesting a ticket.

Although most courts require at least a defendant’s lawyer to appear in order to submit a defense, there are a handful of courts in Texas that allow both the defendant and lawyer to provide a defense in absentia. In other words, not appearing in court will not affect the defendant’s ability to enter a plea or mount a defense.

Many courts that allow in absentia representation are in rural areas, including the municipal courts in Brenham, Waller or Palmer. Galveston, a popular destination for Houstonians, also gives motorists this option.

In Texas, this is the full list of courts that allow in absentia defense:

Municipal Courts

Galveston Municipal Court
601 54th St. (#300), Galveston, TX, 77551
(409) 765-3740
Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Palmer Municipal Court
114 W Jefferson St., Palmer, TX, 75152
(972) 449-3272
Open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Brenham Municipal Court
200 W Vulcan St., Brenham, TX, 77833
(979) 337-7599
Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Waller Municipal Court
1219 Farr St., Waller, TX, 77484
(936) 372-5614
Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Diboll City Municipal Court
400 Kenley St., Diboll, TX, 75941
(936) 829-4761
Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Justice of the Peace Courts (all precincts)

Brazoria County JP courts

Galveston Country JP courts

Waller County JP courts

Refugio county JP courts

That does not mean that these courts are more lenient or forgiving. It is still in the defendant’s best interest to contest a citation, especially if the defendant is facing a DWI charge.

For Houstonians, being issued a ticket while traveling far from home may provoke a sense of panic. The idea of returning later just to fight a ticket is so onerous that many just give in and pay the fine. If the offense is minor and the defendant has a spotless driving record, doing so will probably not result in serious consequences. But by just paying off the ticket, the defendant is effectively admitting guilt. This can lead to serious consequences, especially if the defendant has recently received other citations, or if they have been charged with a serious offense, like DWI. Escalating fines, license suspension and even jail time in some cases await those that just pay up.

Of course, courts want nothing more than for people to just pay the ticket, which is why the public generally has no idea that some courts allow the defendant to be represented without ever stepping in front of a judge. A reputable traffic ticket attorney can often fight a ticket on behalf of their client, without the client ever having to step into the courtroom.