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Presiding Judge -Britton Brooks

Court Clerk - Nicole Cooley

203 S. Broadway/ P.O. Box 95
Bells, TX  75414

903-965-7744 – office
903-965-0250 – fax
Email: court@cityofbells.org

Hours of Operations 

Monday through Friday
8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Court is held the fourth Tuesday of each month.

Bells Municipal Court handles class “C” misdemeanors alleged to have occurred in the city limits of Bells.  Class “C” misdemeanors filed in this court are punishable by fine ONLY.

Appearance

The law REQUIRES you make an appearance for your case.  Your appearance date is on your citation.  Depending upon how you wish to handle your citation you may be required to appear in Court, or the Court Office maintains standing judicial orders that may allow you to dispose of your case without appearing at an official arraignment.

A phone call does not constitute an appearance.

Minors and Juveniles

Minor - 17 years to under 21 years of age

Minors must appear in person for status offenses only.  Status Offenses are described as an offense that relates to the age of the Defendant.

Status Offenses include:

Juvenile  - 16 years of age or younger, State law requires you to appear in person with a parent or guardian, regardless of the offense charged.

Please contact the Court if you have any questions regarding making an appearance.

What are my options?

Plea Options

Before the Court can consider your case, you must enter a plea.  There are three (3) possible pleas to a criminal charge.

Plea of NOT GUILTY

A plea of NOT GUILTY means you are informing the Court of your denial of guilt and the State must prove the criminal charge(s) against you.  If you plea NOT GUILTY, you must decide whether or not to employ an attorney to defend you.  Defense attorneys are not provided.  You must also decide and inform the Court as to your choice of Judge or Jury Trial.

Plea of GUILTY

A plea of GUILITY means you are admitting you have committed the act you have been charged with and agree to pay the fine as well as waive your right to a jury trial.

Plea of NO CONTEST

A plea of NO CONTEST also known as “nolo contendere” means that you are not admitting guilt, but you do not wish to contest the charge against you, and waive your right to a jury trial.

Download a Plea Form

Disposition Options

If you chose to plea NO CONTEST or GUILTY, depending on the offense with which you have been charged, you may have several options in how to handle your ticket.

  • Dismissal
  • Pay your fine
  • Request a Driver’s Safety Course or Motorcycle Operator’s Training Course
  • Request Deferred Disposition (Please contact Court for information)

If you received a citation for an expired driver’s license, expired registration or defective equipment and meet certain requirements, your case may be dismissed.  A $20.00 administrative processing fee will be charged on Compliance Dismissal cases.

Liability Insurance Violations

If you received a citation for no insurance, your ticket may be dismissed if you provide proof that you indeed did have automobile liability insurance coverage in affect at the time and date you received your citation.  All insurance coverage will be verified through your provider prior to dismissal.

Paying your fine…

After a plea has been entered in your case, payments may be made by phone, by mail, in person, or online. (through trafficpayment.com)  The Court accepts cash, personal and business checks, cashier’s check, money order, and credit/debit cards.  (A 5% processing fee is added to all credit/debit card transactions.)

Drivers Safety Course

The Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 45.0511(q) states: You may be able to require that this charge be dismissed by successfully completing a driving safety course or a motorcycle operator training course.  You will lose that right if, on or before your appearance date, you do not provide the court with notice of your request to take the course.”

You are NOT ELIGIBLE to take the DSC/MOTC if:

  1. You hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL);
  2. You have taken a Court ordered DSC/MOTC for another ticket within the last 12 months; or
  3. You are charged with:
    1. 95 miles per hour or more;
    2. Speeding 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit;
    3. Passing a school bus;
    4. Committing a serious traffic violation;
    5. Failing to stop and give information or rendering aid after an accident; or
    6. Committing an offense in a construction zone when a worker(s) was present.

Court Fees for all eligible moving violations:
Standard moving violation              $109.10
School Zone moving violation         $134.10

This fee along with your completed application, a copy of your driver’s license, and a copy of your current auto liability insurance be presented/paid at the time you request to take the class for citation dismissal.

After your request for DSC/MOTC has been approved, you will have 90 days to complete your class and return the following to the Court:

  1. The signed, original completion certificate from your class;
  2. A copy of your driving record from the Texas DPS   www.dps.texas.gov/Driverlicense/driverrecords.htm or request form for paper filing) NOTE: You must select option "3A" on the DPS mail in form or the DPS web site in order to obtain the required version of your driving record. 
  3. A signed and notarized DSC affidavit. (supplied upon approval)

Download Driver Safety Course Form

Deferred Disposition

The court offers the option to “defer” or postpone the disposition of your case and place you on probation for a specified period of time, typically 90 days.  During the deferral period, you must comply with the terms and conditions of your deferral.  Terms vary

Please be aware the type of offense you have been charged with and the facts of your particular case may be considered to determine if you are eligible for a deferral.

Offense categories that may be eligible for a deferral option include:  

  • Moving Violations, Bicycle and Non-motorized Vehicle Offenses,
  • No Insurance Violations,
  • No Driver’s License/Invalid Driver’s License Violations,
  • Parking Violations
  • City Ordinance Violations.

If you successfully comply with the terms of your deferral in the timeframe ordered by the Court, your case will be dismissed.

If any requirements are not met and you cannot provide a satisfactory reason why, at a hearing before a judge, you may be found guilty. If your offense is reportable to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Court will provide notice of conviction to DPS.

Non-Eligibility:

You are not eligible for a deferred disposition on a moving violation if you:
Are charged with:

  • Leaving the scene of a collision.
  • Passing a School Bus.
  • Received your citation while driving in a Construction Zone when workers were present.
  • Have a commercial driver license even if the violation occurred while you were driving a private vehicle.

*Note: It is important to keep the Court notified of your current mailing address so you do not miss important correspondence.

Appearance at Court Required:

You must appear at court to request a deferred disposition if:

  • You are a juvenile (under the age of 17). As a juvenile, you must appear in person at the date and time assigned by the court prior to requesting a deferred disposition.  
Deferral Procedure:

You may submit your request in person, by mail, email or fax:

  • Contact Bells Municipal Court to verify eligibility.
  • Complete and submit a copy of the deferred disposition request form

    Download Deferred Application Request

  • Make payment of fine and court fees. **
  • Supply a copy of your driver’s license and insurance to the Court.
  • Your case will be reviewed and, if your request is approved for a deferred disposition, you will receive notice in the mail listing your deferral period and any requirements.

**Note: If you cannot pay the required fee immediately, please contact the court.

UNDER 25 YEARS OF AGE???

If you are under 25 you will be required to take a driver safety course as a condition of deferred disposition.

UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE???
If you hold a provisional license (under 18 years of age), in addition to the driver safety class noted above, you are also required by Texas law to take the DPS driving test as a condition of deferred disposition.

Failing to Comply with the Terms

If you fail to comply with any of the requirements of the Deferred Disposition, your case will be set for a revocation hearing.  The hearing is your opportunity to speak with a judge regarding why you failed to comply with terms of your deferred disposition.  If you fail to appear at your hearing, a conviction will be entered, the conviction will be placed on your record, and, if there is still a balance on the case, a warrant for your arrest will be issued.