Trials conducted in the Mansfield Municipal Court of Record are in accordance with the due process requirements of the United States Constitution, Texas Constitution, and Code of Criminal Procedure. Defendants may be represented by an attorney or may act pro se, which is a Latin term meaning that the defendant represents himself or herself at trial.

Defendant's Rights

Each defendant is assured of the following rights in Court:

  • The right to inspect the complaint before trial and have it read to you at trial
  • The right to have your case tried before a jury
  • The right to hear all testimony introduced against you
  • The right to cross-examine any and all witnesses who testify against you
  • The right to testify on your own behalf
  • The right not to testify (the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution ensures that your refusal to testify cannot be held against you in determining your guilt or innocence)
  • The right to call witnesses to testify on your behalf at the trial and have the Court issue a subpoena to any witnesses to demand their appearance at the trial

A subpoena is a Court order notifying the witness that he must be in Court for the trial. If a witness does not appear after receiving a subpoena, he or she may be cited with contempt and a warrant for the witness' arrest may be issued. Requests for subpoenas must be requested at least 10 days prior to trial and must be in writing or requested in person at the court.

  1. Pre-Trial
  2. Bench Trial
  3. Jury Trial

Pre-Trial Proceedings

Any time a defendant pleads not guilty before the court, he or she will be scheduled for a Pre-Trial Hearing. During this hearing, the defendant will have an opportunity to discuss the case with the State Prosecutor and present evidence as to why the case should be dismissed, or the fine lessened due to the facts and circumstances involved.

If the case is not dismissed and no plea agreement can be reached between the defendant and State Prosecutor, the case will be set for trial at a later date. This enables both the defendant and prosecutor to gather evidence, subpoena witnesses, and prepare for trial. A trial date will be scheduled only after the defendant has appeared for his or her Pre-Trial Hearing.

Trial Procedure for Defendants(PDF)