Allow five business days for court processing of your citation. The only person who can answer to the citation is the defendant or the defendant’s attorney.
You may pay in person or by mail. No personal or business checks are accepted. You may pay by cash, money order, cashier’s check, MasterCard, Visa and bank debit cards with MC/V logo. Credit card payments may be made in person at the court window or online.
Payment vs. Court Appearance
You must pay your fine before your court appearance or appear for a hearing at the date and time designated on your citation. Court check in begins at 7:00am; you must be seated and in the courtroom by no later than 8:15am. If you appear after 8:15am you may not be admitted to the courtroom. You may make payment arrangements at the court window up until 9:00am on your court date. A phone call does not constitute an appearance. Failure to appear on or before your court date may result in the filing of additional charges and issuance of a warrant for your arrest.
If you need a payment extension you may request it from the court clerk anytime prior to your original court date or from the Judge at your court appearance. There is a $15 state time payment fee added to each case not paid within 30 days.
Mandatory Court Appearances-Juveniles and Others
A mandatory court appearance is required for all defendants under 17 years old. A parent or guardian must accompany you. Failure to appear by a parent is a Class C misdemeanor and may be fined up to $200.00. To expediate your court appearance, it is advisable to make an appointment with the Juvenile Case Manager at 210-659-0333 x 716.
A mandatory appearance is also required for alcohol and tobacco offenses for defendants under age 21. All Assault-Family Violence cases must appear before the judge.
Proper courtroom attire is required when you appear before the judge. Clothing must be neat and clean; no shorts or torn jeans. T-shirts are allowed (no obscene or offensive messages) but no muscle shirts, crop tops, tank or tube tops. Shoes are required. All hats must be removed. No cell phones or any other electronic devices are allowed in the courtroom. Due to limited accommodations seating is for defendants only, all others must wait outside. If you are the parent of a juvenile who is required to appear before the judge you may enter the courtroom with your child. If you are a defendant and bring a child, you must wait in the lobby until the end of the docket and keep the child with you and quiet at all times. No food or drink is allowed in the courtroom or lobby area.
Types of Pleas
There are three pleas commonly used in municipal court. You may enter a plea of guilty, nolo contendre (no contest) or not guilty. If you wish to request defensive driving or deferred disposition you must enter a plea of guilty or no contest. If you pay your ticket, that is an accepted plea of no contest. If you are entering a plea of not guilty, you must appear at your scheduled court date and time to enter the plea on the record. Once you enter a plea of not guilty you will not be eligible for defensive driving, deferred disposition or a payment extension. Not guilty cases are held until the end of the docket to best determine when officers will be available. You will then receive a court date for a pre-trial hearing with the prosecutor at which time you may make motions and submit a list of witnesses you are calling, and view video, if available. The trial date will be set for a Thursday at a later date where the prosecutor, officer and state witnesses will appear.
Court of Record
Universal City Municipal Court is a court of record. All proceedings are recorded on an audio system. You must speak up when appearing before the judge. Any communication, either directly or indirectly, with the municipal court judge prior to your court appearance concerning the merits of a pending case may be considered ex parte communication which is prohibited by the Code of Judicial Conduct. The Judge cannot read a letter, take a phone call, discuss the case or otherwise communicate with any party to the case outside of the court session.