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Legal Statutes: Texas

UPDATED July 20, 2016

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Chapter Twenty-Seven. The Pleading in Criminal Actions

back to topArt. 27.14. Plea of guilty or nolo contendere in misdemeanor

(a) A plea of “guilty” or a plea of “nolo contendere” in a misdemeanor case may be made either by the defendant or his counsel in open court; in such case, the defendant or his counsel may waive a jury, and the punishment may be assessed by the court either upon or without evidence, at the discretion of the court.

(b) A defendant charged with a misdemeanor for which the maximum possible punishment is by fine only may, in lieu of the method provided in Subsection (a) of this article, mail or deliver in person to the court a plea of “guilty” or a plea of “nolo contendere” and a waiver of jury trial. The defendant may also request in writing that the court notify the defendant, at the address stated in the request, of the amount of an appeal bond that the court will approve. If the court receives a plea and waiver before the time the defendant is scheduled to appear in court, the court shall dispose of the case without requiring a court appearance by the defendant. If the court receives a plea and waiver after the time the defendant is scheduled to appear in court but at least five business days before a scheduled trial date, the court shall dispose of the case without requiring a court appearance by the defendant. The court shall notify the defendant either in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of the amount of any fine assessed in the case and, if requested by the defendant, the amount of an appeal bond that the court will approve. The defendant shall pay any fine assessed or give an appeal bond in the amount stated in the notice before the 31st day after receiving the notice.

(c) In a misdemeanor case for which the maximum possible punishment is by fine only, payment of a fine or an amount accepted by the court constitutes a finding of guilty in open court as though a plea of nolo contendere had been entered by the defendant and constitutes a waiver of a jury trial in writing.

(d) If written notice of an offense for which maximum possible punishment is by fine only or of a violation relating to the manner, time, and place of parking has been prepared, delivered, and filed with the court and a legible duplicate copy has been given to the defendant, the written notice serves as a complaint to which the defendant may plead “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “nolo contendere.” If the defendant pleads “not guilty” to the offense or fails to appear based on the written notice, a complaint shall be filed that conforms to the requirements of Chapter 45 of this code, and that complaint serves as an original complaint. A defendant may waive the filing of a sworn complaint and elect that the prosecution proceed on the written notice of the charged offense if the defendant agrees in writing with the prosecution, signs the agreement, and files it with the court.

(e)(1) [FN1] Before accepting a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere by a defendant charged with a misdemeanor involving family violence, as defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, the court shall admonish the defendant by using the following statement:

“If you are convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving violence where you are or were a spouse, intimate partner, parent, or guardian of the victim or are or were involved in another, similar relationship with the victim, it may be unlawful for you to possess or purchase a firearm, including a handgun or long gun, or ammunition, pursuant to federal law under 18 U.S.C. Section 922(g)(9) or Section 46.04(b), Texas Penal Code. If you have any questions whether these laws make it illegal for you to possess or purchase a firearm, you should consult an attorney.”

(2) The court may provide the admonishment under Subdivision (1) orally or in writing, except that if the defendant is charged with a misdemeanor punishable by fine only, the statement printed on a citation issued under Article 14.06(b) may serve as the court admonishment required by this subsection.
Acts 1965, 59th Leg., p. 317, ch. 722, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1966. Amended by Acts 1967, 60th Leg., p. 1738, ch. 659, § 18, eff. Aug. 28, 1967; Acts 1977, 65th Leg., p. 2143, ch. 858, § 1, eff. June 16, 1977; Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 450, ch. 207, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1979; Acts 1983, 68th Leg., p. 1257, ch. 273, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1983; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 87, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 76, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 285, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 473, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2009; Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1121, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2009; Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1379, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2009.