Coming To Court

General Information
Useful Information About the Municipal Court

  • The Harlingen Municipal Court was created by the City Charter.
  • The Municipal Court has jurisdiction over offenses occuring within the City Limits that are violations of City ordinances or violations of a state statute.
  • The Municipal Court has jurisdiction over offenses that are punishable by fine only. Your signature on the ticket is not a plea of guilty.
  • You have a right to appear in Court and contest the charge filed against you and you have the right to a jury trial.
  • When making a court appearance, bring your copy of the citation with you.
  • Anyone under 17 years of age must appear in person before the Court and must be accompanied by his or her parent or legal guardian.
  • Anyone under 21 years of age, but over 17 years of age, and that is charged wit an alcohol offense must appear in person before the Court, and a parent or legal guardian is not required to appear in Court.
  • Convictions for moving violations are reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
  • If you do not appear in Court or make payment on or before the court date on your citation, an additional charge of failing to appear may be filed against you and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
  • If you want to contest a citation, need an extension to pay, or request a time payment plan, you must fill out the payment application form and appear in person in the Municipal Court on or before your appearance date on your citation.
  • The Court does have a dress code. No shorts of any type are allowed in the courtroom. See the Court Rules for all regulations.
  • No cell phones or other similar devices are allowed in the courtroom. Penalty for violating this order: Contempt of Court charges plus $100.00 fine and 3 days in jail.
  • Convictions for moving violations are reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Court RulesThe following rules apply while in the Harlingen Municipal Courtroom
No weapons of any kind are allowed
Exceptions - law enforcement personnel only - to be cleared by Bailiff
No gum, food, or drinks allowed
No smoking, or other use of tobacco products
Dress appropriately for court:

  • No bare feet
  • No shorts
  • No tank tops, halter tops, muscle or under shirts
  • No clothing with obscene, indecent, or gang related clothing
  • No clothing with profane words, language, or illustrations
Turn off all cell phones, pagers, and all other communication devices
No cameras allowed - whether still or video
No use of foul or profane language allowed
Sit quietly - remain seated until called by the Judge or Court Personnel
Parents are required to control their children
Children will not be allowed to run or walk around in the Courtroom
Any defendant under 17 years of age must be accompanied by parent/legal guardian
Wait for Bailiff or Court Personnel to let you into the Courtroom. Do not knock on the glass or door.

Court Roles

Roles of the Judge

  • Ensures that orders of the court are followed
  • Ensures that all persons before the court are treated fairly and equally
  • Presides over jury trials and hears non-jury trials
  • Sets the terms and conditions of deferred dispositions and other sentences
Roles of the Clerks

  • Administrators of the Court
  • Carry out the orders of the judge and the procedures and policies mandated by the state or other authority
  • Prohibited by law to give any legal advice or interpret the law for you, as they are not attorneys
  • May not change the court's orders or make exceptions to the court's rules for any individual
  • May not tell you what they think the judge or the prosecutor may do in your case. They can only answer factual questions regarding the information they have
Roles of the Prosecutor

  • Attorney for the City and the State
  • The prosecutor is not your attorney
  • You have the right to not speak to the prosecutor
  • If you choose to speak to the prosecutor, be aware that any statement you make may be used against you should you choose to proceed to trial