What happens if a citizen complaint is accepted?

If a citizen complaint is accepted, then the charge is officially filed with the Court by the prosecutor. The accused person, now called the defendant, will then be notified of the charge and given a date by which they must appear at Court to answer it. They will have all of the usual options anyone with a citation may have, including paying a “window fine” (an amount set by the judge as the default fine for a particular offense) or setting the case for a pretrial hearing. They may also hire an attorney to represent them in Court.

If the defendant pleads not guilty plea and requests a trial, then the complaining witness will be notified to appear and testify at trial. In Texas, virtually all criminal defendants (even those charged with only a Class C misdemeanor) may request a jury trial. The same procedural rules, the same burdens of proof, and the same Constitutional protections that apply in a capital murder trial apply to even minor charges in Municipal Court. In representing the people of Texas in a criminal prosecution, prosecutors are sworn to uphold the Constitution and the laws of this State and to seek justice - not convictions.

Show All Answers

1. What is a citizen complaint?
2. Why might a citizen complaint be refused?
3. What happens if a citizen complaint is accepted?
4. When a citizen complaint is accepted, does the person filing it have to present the case to the Court?
5. What can a person do to make it more likely that a citizen complaint is accepted?
6. What should a person do if their complaint is rejected?