Welcome to the Socorro Municipal Court

The Court serves to provide the citizens of Socorro, Texas with a fair and impartial court of law by interpreting and adjudicating applicable state laws and city ordinances.

The Socorro Municipal Court strives to provide efficient and effective services through the promotion of justice. Municipal Court also provides reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities and individuals who speak another language.

The Municipal Court conducts court arraignments where defendants make their initial pleas. The Judge presides over bench trials, jury trials, contempt proceedings, indigent hearings, pre-trials, show cause hearings, ordinance hearings, animal control hearings, and other court proceedings. The judge also performs magistrate functions, such as administering warnings to those arrested, setting bail, issuing arrest warrants, search warrants, and summons.   

All Court hearings (other than jury trials) are being conducted virtually using the Zoom application. Please call (915) 872-8574 before your trial date for directions.  

The Socorro Municipal Court will continue remote court proceedings for all hearings.  Cases will be held as currently scheduled using the Zoom platform.  Information with instructions about the remote proceedings and the date of the hearing will be mailed or emailed to each defendant prior to their court date.  If you have an upcoming court hearing and you have not provided the court with your email address, please make sure to provide the court with your email address as soon as possible.

The remote appearance is not optional and neglecting to appear will have the same consequences as not appearing at an in-person proceeding.  Alternatively, options for handling a citation prior to a court date, can be found here, on the court’s website.

If you do not have access to technology that allows you to appear remotely, please contact the Court prior to your scheduled court date for further instructions. The phone number to call is (915) 872-8574.

The Socorro Municipal Court handles cases involving Class C misdemeanors. Generally, such cases are punishable by fine only.

The law is constantly changing and there may be times when the information on this website will not be current.  This information is provided for general informational purposes only; it is not intended as legal advice; it is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject; and it is not a substitute for advice from an attorney.

Attorney's Court live stream: 23 September 2022

Course, Class, Community Service

The court may assign the completion of a course or class as part of deferred adjudication to keep a citation from being reported as a conviction on one’s driving record.  Listed below are organizations to which the court may refer a defendant:

Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Program 

The Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Program (DADAP) is a Texas state-approved online Drug and Alcohol Driving Awareness Program. You can locate class information and pricing on the main page of their website dadaponline.com.  Classes are available in Spanish.

Driving Safety Course

Under state law, a defendant charged with a moving traffic violation may be eligible to take a driving safety course in order to have the ticket dismissed. If a ticket is dismissed under this provision, it will not appear as a conviction on the driving record and should not affect insurance premiums.

Eligibility

In order to take a driving safety course, a defendant must:

  1. Request permission from the Court.
  2. Not have taken a driving safety course 12 months prior to the date of the citation.
  3. Must enter a plea of no contest or guilty.
  4. Present a valid Texas driver’s license.
  5. Present valid insurance with the defendant’s name on the policy.
  6. FOR CITATIONS RECEIVED AFTER JANUARY 1, 2020:  Pay $144 in applicable state   court costs and administrative fees ($169 if offense was in a school zone).
  7. FOR CITATIONS RECEIVED AFTER SEPT. 1, 2019:  Pay $134.10 in applicable state court costs and administrative fees ($159.10 if offense was in a school zone).

Defendants 16 years of age or younger must make a formal court appearance with a parent or legal guardian in order to request permission to take a driving safety course.

Not all Violations are Eligible

A driver will not be eligible to have a charge dismissed by completing a driving safety course if:

  • The alleged moving violation occurred in a construction zone. with workers present
  • The alleged speed is 25 miles per hour or more over the posted speed limit.
  • The alleged violation is passing a school bus while loading or unloading students.
  • The driver holds a commercial driver’s license.

How to Request a Driving Safety Course

The following documentation is required in order to request a driving safety course:

  • Insurance card showing defendant’s name as a covered driver on the policy.
  • Defendant’s valid Texas Driver’s License (no CDLs).
  • Signed Driver’s Safety Course Form: DSC Form
  • Driving Record Request: Driving Record

By Mail

Copies of all documents must be sent to:

Socorro Municipal Court
860 N. Rio Vista
Socorro, TX 79927

Documentation must be postmarked / receive by the court prior to the court date on the citation in order to be eligible.

 

E-Mail

Copies of all documents must be emailed to:
mgomez@costx.us

 

In Person

Present all documentation at the clerk’s window. If the request is not made by the court date, the defendant may lose the option to take the course.

The receipt, an application for a driving record, and the deadline for taking the course and turning in documents will be returned to the address on the citation.

After Completing the Driving Safety Course

The original certificate of completion from the course and the defendant’s original driving record (type 3A) must be submitted together to the court in person, by mail, or drop box (located beside the lobby doors), by the due date provided on the driving safety order. The driving record may also be ordered online from Licensee Driver Records. 

Failure to take the course and turn in the documents by the due date may result in a conviction being entered and payment of the remaining balance becoming due.

Child Safety Seat & Seat Belt Offender Program

The child safety seat and seat belt offender program is offered through our local University Medical Center of El Paso Trauma Prevention Services it is now approved by the State. The course is six hours in length and can be completed in a one day class. Classes are available in English and Spanish.

Need More Time To Complete Your Community Service?

Community service is authorized to be completed by a specified date. Should you need an extension of time, please notify the court at (915) 872-8574.

community service

Community Service, when approved by the Judge, can be performed in lieu of payment.  Approval for community service must be requested prior to performing the service. Community service should be performed at one of the approved agencies.

Community service must be performed at non-profit organizations. Should you need to perform your community service with a non-profit agency that is not listed on one of the approved listings, you must get prior approval to use an alternate agency.

dismissals

Some violations may be dismissed by presenting certain compliance documents at the lobby windows. The documents should be presented on or before the first appearance date. If the ticket is not handled at the window before the first appearance date, a court appearance may be required.  Some violations can be dismissed after successfully completing a probation period. This probation is called a deferred disposition. You may qualify to take a driver’s safety course to have a ticket dismissed. See the Courses, Classes, Community Service page for more information. 

compliance dismissals

Other violations may be dismissed at the lobby windows by showing proof that the violation has been corrected. See list below of eligible violations.

Violation Required Proof Dismissal Fee
Defective Equipment
Proof of repair/receipt from the location where the violation was corrected - the car will be inspected
$10
Driving without a Driver’s License
A current, valid Texas Driver’s License issued to the defendant, appropriate for the type of vehicle operated, that was valid at the time the citation was issued.
$10
Wrong or unclean plate
Proof of proper plates assigned to vehicle or picture of clean plates
$10
Operation of vehicle without one or no license plate
Proof of repair and picture of both plates
$10
Driving with expired registration
Expired less than 120 days, but registration has been renewed, and late fees paid at the tax office. Receipt from the County Tax Assessor showing the date and amount of payment made to renew vehicle registration. The receipt MUST SHOW payment of the late registration penalty to the tax assessor. The receipt MUST SHOW that the registration was renewed within 20 days after receiving the citation or before the scheduled initial appearance date on the citation.
$20
Expired Driver’s License
Current, valid Texas Driver’s License or a temporary license issued by the Department of Public Safety indicating renewal and the date of the renewal. The document(s) MUST SHOW that the renewal was accomplished within 20 days after receiving the citation or before the scheduled initial appearance date on the citation.
$20
Failure to change name/address on Driver’s License within 30 days
A valid Texas Driver’s license that indicates the name and/or address of the defendant has been changed proving the defect has been remedied and a receipt issued by the Department of Public Safety indicating that the change was made within 20 days after the date of the citation or before the scheduled initial appearance date on the citation
$20
Driving without Insurance
Proof of Financial Responsibility (must have been valid at the time of citation)
None
Driving While License Invalid or Suspended
Proof of license eligibility from the Department of Public Safety
None

jury services

Jury service is an important civic and community duty. Through service on a jury, a citizen has a direct hand in the administration of justice. The court greatly appreciates citizens who participate in this service.

Qualifications

To serve as a juror, the following qualifications must be met:

  • At least 18 years of age.
  • A citizen of the United States;
  • A resident of this state and of the county in which I am to serve as a juror;
  • Qualified to serve under the Constitution and laws to vote in this county. (Note: You do not have to be registered to vote to be qualified to vote)
  • Of sound mind and good moral character.
  • Able to read and write.
  • Have not served as a juror for six days during the preceding three months in the county court or during the preceding six months in the district court
  • Have not been convicted of theft or any felony.
  • Not under indictment or other legal accusation of a misdemeanor theft, felony theft or any other felony charge.
  • A resident of the City of Socorro for which the court is established.

Exemptions

  • Persons over (70) years of age.
  • Persons who have legal custody of a child under the age of 15 years if jury service would require leaving the child without supervision.
  • All students of public or private secondary schools; persons enrolled and attending an institution of higher education.
  • Primary caretaker of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself.
  • Officer or employee of the Senate, House of Representatives, or another agency in the legislative branch;
  • A Person has served as a juror in SOCORRO* in the past 2 years.
  • Serving in an El Paso County Court or El Paso City Court jury DOES NOT exempt you from serving in Socorro

If you qualify for an exemption/excuse, call us at (915) 872-8574, or complete the Certification of Exemption or Disqualification form on your summons and mail it to SMC, or you may fax it to (915) 872-0450.

additional information

If you have been summoned, please confirm your attendance the day before service by calling (915) 872-8574.

  • Failure to report to court is a serious offense, and you may be fined. You will need to attend court on time.
  • LENGTH OF SERVICE: At least (1) one day.
  • JURY STIPEND: If selected to serve, service pays $20.00 per day.
  • DRESS: Business casual or business attire.
  • CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE: The Court Clerk will give you a Certificate of Service.
  • SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS: It is the policy of the Socorro Municipal Court to ensure individuals with disabilities have equal access consistent with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you require any special accommodations, we ask that you call us at (915) 872.8574.

Juror’s names are selected from current voter registration lists. If you were summoned and you no longer reside in Socorro, contact the voter registration office to have your name removed from their list.

ticket information

You have options.  Appearance in court is your right, but it is not necessary.  

You can keep a ticket off your record in three ways:

  1. You may qualify to take a driver’s safety course
  2. You may request a Deferred Disposition (probation)
  3. You may be eligible for a compliance dismissal.
  • You can request a payment plan or an extension to pay.
  • You can pay the fine.
  • You can contest the ticket and go to court

If you are 16 years of age or younger and you received a citation, your parent or guardian must appear in court with you before the Municipal Court Judge.  This is a Texas State law.  A notice will be mailed to the address given to the Officer by the violator at the time of the ticket was issued.  

If you fail to appear, a notice is sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).  The DPS will suspend your driver’s license or prohibit you from getting or renewing your driver’s license.  

The parent of any juvenile charges is required to be present in court with his or her child.  Failure of a parent or guardian to appear with a juvenile constitutes a separate misdemeanor offense by the parent.  Attorneys representing juveniles are required to be present at the hearing along with the child and parent. Juveniles cannot pay a citation without a plea on file.

If you ignore your ticket, you may face additional violations such as a Failure to Appear charge. Your case may be reported to a collection agency and additional fees and fines may apply.  Additionally, a warrant of arrest may be issued.  

The Texas Department of Public Safety is the State agency that would put a hold on your driver’s license and assess surcharges.  If you have questions about surcharges or a hold on your driver’s license, you can call the Department of Public Safety Driver’s License Customer Service phone number for assistance.  That number is (512) 424-2600.

virtual services

the virtual courtroom experience

  • Proper courtroom etiquette and proper courtroom attire are required.  
  • The virtual court hearings are streamed live to YouTube to comply with the State of Texas “Open Court” requirements.
  • Audio and video are necessary for the virtual courtroom hearing.  When joining the hearing, one must select “Join with Audio and Video.”  If your audio is not working when you are called for the check-in process, you will be returned to the waiting room.
  • When you enter the virtual courtroom, your profile must have your first and last name or citation number.  
  • Muting and unmuting your audio functions:  Although, you have control to mute and unmute, PLEASE let the docket coordinator control this function when the Judge is ready to speak with you. As you enter the hearing, your profile is muted and should remain muted until you speak with the Judge or the Prosecutor.  
  • Arraignments and Pre-trials, the Judge will call your name when she is ready to accept your plea and render her order(s).
  • Show Cause Hearing, you will be speaking only to the Judge.  
  • If you do not answer when your name is called, the next person will be called.
  • After speaking with the Judge, her orders will be emailed to you, they must be signed and returned immediately to make plea official.

Recording Court Proceedings

No person may record a court proceeding without the court’s permission (this is not a court of record!). This prohibition applies to all persons, including members of the public viewing court proceedings on any court’s live stream and to persons with the ability to record any virtual court proceeding. Any person found to be in violation of this order faces contempt proceedings.

Note:  The remote appearance is not optional and neglecting to appear will have the same consequences as not appearing at an in-person proceeding.  Alternatively, options for handling a citation prior to a court date, can be found here, on the court’s website. (See Ticket Information or Dismissals page of this website.)

 Please call the court at (915) 872-8574, for more information on video conferencing court appearances or read about appearing remotely on the “Your Rights” page of this website.

warrant information

An arrest warrant is a warrant signed by a judge granting law enforcement officials the right and ability to arrest a person of interest regarding a crime.  If you do not take care of your citation, this will result in a warrant for your arrest. There are several ways to clear warrants. For information and payment options please call (915) 872-8574. The different types of warrants are explained below. 

Capias Pro Fine Warrant 

A capias pro fine warrant is issued after you have failed to comply with the judge’s orders after you plead and made arrangements or if you fail to appear at your Show cause Hearing. 

Failure to Appear Warrant 

A failure to appear is a violation that occurs when a defendant, lawfully released from custody with or without bail and intentionally and knowingly, fails to appear in accordance with the terms of the release.  This is a separate and distinct criminal charge.

Violate Promise to Appear 

A Violate Promise to Appears is a violation that is added to a case when a person does not appear to handle their ticket.  This additional offense “Violate Promise to Appear” and associated fees will be filed against any person that is in violation of appearing to answer a citation.  This will result in a warrant for your arrest.

Your Rights

You have many rights as a defendant in municipal court.  In a criminal case, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You have the right to represent yourself (as a Pro Se defendant) or pay a lawyer to represent you.

Appearing Remotely

Appearing remotely allows the defendant to:

  • Enter a Plea of Not Guilty and request a trial by judge or trial by jury;
  • Enter a plea of guilty or no contest.  Defendants who plead Guilty or No Contest via the remote appearance have the same opportunities for payment plans, driver safety courses, or deferred disposition.  Request an extension of the due dates established by a previous judgement;
  • Appear in response to the Show Cause Order; and
  • Seek resolution of outstanding warrants.

your rights during trial

  • You have the right to a jury trial or a trial before a judge;
  • You have the right to examine the evidence (called discovery);
  • You have the right to hear all testimony introduced against you;
  • You have the right to cross-examine witnesses who testify against you;
  • You have the right to present evidence and call witnesses to testify on your behalf;
  • You have the right to testify on your own behalf or remain silent; and
  • You have the right to request that the court consider alternatives to payment if you are convicted and unable to immediately pay the fine and court costs.

Note:  If you need the services of an interpreter, please notify the court prior to your trial.

 

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