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Municipal Courts

Fines and Fees

 

Paying your fine

In the City of Houston Municipal Courts, punishment can be assessed only by fines. That simply means that the Judge cannot sentence you to jail for a ticket; the Judge can only assess a fine against you. 

 

 

How much will the fine be?

If you agree with the violation on the ticket and enter a plea of guilty or no contest, the Judge will find you guilty. The exact amount of the fine will depend on the violation and other circumstances reviewed by the Judge. You should be prepared to pay the fine at the time you are found guilty. STATE LAW REQUIRES THE COURT TO COLLECT A FEE OF $25 PER CASE FROM A PERSON WHO REQUESTS TO PAY A FINE OR COURT COSTS OVER A PERIOD OF TIME RATHER THAN IMMEDIATELY. If the offense was committed September 1, 1999, or after, the $25 fee is collectable only if the entire amount of the fine is not paid by the 30th day after the fine is assessed.

 

 

Fines / Bond Schedule

Fine Schedules for the most common offenses is a .pdf file and can be viewed using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Effective 12/3/07 - Bond amount will equal current amount due.

 

Effective January 2014 the following Municipal Courts Window Fines will increase:

 

Description
New Window Fine
with Court Costs
Failure to Appear
$234.00
No Dog/Cat License
$114.00
Failure to have Dog/Cat Vaccinated
$114.00
Changing Lanes Not in Safety
$199.00
Driving At Night Without Lights
$189.00
HOV Lane Violation
$179.00
Seat Belt - Child/Safety Seat 1st Violation
$204.00
No Driver's License
$209.00
Failure To Eastablish Financial Responsibility
$279.00
All Moving Violations with Accidents
$279.00

 

 

 

A CONVICTION OF AN OFFENSE UNDER A TRAFFIC LAW OF THIS STATE OR A POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE MAY RESULT IN THE ASSESSMENT ON YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE OF A SURCHARGE UNDER THE DRIVER RESPONSIBLITY PROGRAM.

 


Notice:

Effective November 2, 2004, courts instituted a 30 percent collection fee on delinquent cases that are referred to a collection agency.

 

 

Charge of additional 30% Collection Fee on Delinquent Cases:
The State Legislature passed a bill authorizing the assessment of a 30% collection fee to any case in which a defendant had either failed to pay or failed to appear on or before their court date on all violations processed by the court; traffic, non-traffic and parking cases. All cases are referred to a delinquent collections agency when they have been delinquent for more than 60 days.

 

 

Payment of fines:

 

 

There are several options available for the payment of tickets/fines. Appearance in court on the date shown on your ticket will be waived if fines are paid prior to that date. Other options are: 

  • PAYMENT BY MAIL: Full payment of amount due by check or money order should be made prior to scheduled court date. Mail payment with ticket number written on check to: Municipal Courts, P.O. Box 4996, Houston, TX 77210-4996
  • PAYMENT ONLINE: You can pay your fine online
  • PAYMENT IN PERSON: You may pay your fine in person at the following seven convenient locations: (1) the Municipal Courts Building, 1400 Lubbock, 7:00 am - 10:00 pm, Monday through Saturday, and (2) other Satellite locations.
  • PAYMENT BY WESTERN UNION: As shown on the instructions on your ticket, you may wire your payment by Western Union and avoid long lines. Your payment will be applied immediately.
  • PAYMENT BY CREDIT CARD: All fines can now be paid using your MasterCard, Visa, or Discover credit cards. Simply fill out the form attached to your ticket, sign it and return it to the Courts. Or, you can fill out the Credit Card By Mail Form and mail it to the address on the form.

 

 

Other payment options:

If the payment is not made in full by the Court date, you MUST appear on your scheduled date. The worst thing you can do is not show up. Failure to appear or failure to pay may result in
(1) A warrant issued for your arrest and
(2) Denial of the renewal of your driver's license and additional costs of $30 per case, or
(3) Denial of the registration or re-registration of any motor vehicle. The Judge will review your ability to pay the fine and the amount of the total fines. Generally, the Judge will order one of thefollowing: 

 

 

  • DEFERRED PAYMENT - a reset of the whole amount due on another date.
  • COMMUNITY SERVICE - work in a City department or non-profit agency in lieu of paying the fine. 

 

The Judge will determine which plan is best suited for you. You are the only one that can request this option.
No one else can apply for you; not your attorney, spouse, parent, or friend. A processing fee of $25.00 per case could be added to your fine as required by State Law if you request payment of your fine/cost over a period of time. If the offense was committed September 1, 1999, or after, the $25 fee is collectable only if the entire amount of the fine is not paid by the 30th day after the fine is assessed.  Your failure/refusal to pay your fine could result in
(1) A warrant issued for your arrest and
(2) Denial of the renewal of your driver's license and additional costs of $30 per case, or
(3) Denial of the registration or re-registration of any motor vehicle.

 

Payment of your fine is YOUR legal responsibility.

 

 


Non-payment of fines:

Remember you must always show the Court that you are willing to pay the fine. The Judge may conduct an indigency hearing at any time to determine whether or not you are financially able to pay the fine. The Judge may ask you questions about your income, resources, employment, family size, etc. This will assist the Judge in determining your financial situation and your capability of paying your fine. The Judge may determine that you are financially able to pay your fine. If at that time you continue to refuse to pay your fine, you could be ordered to serve jail time. 

 

 


What if I do not show up on my reset date to pay my fines?

If you ask for time to pay and do not show up in court, an automatic arrest (Capias pro fine) order will be issued. You cannot send someone to get a reset for you, not even your spouse or parent. Any police officer can arrest you at anytime to bring you to Court to pay your fine. Additionally, failure to pay the fine may result in
(1) A warrant issued for your arrest and
(2) Denial of the renewal of your driver's license and additional costs of $30 per case. If arrested, you will be taken before a Judge to determine if you are too poor to pay your fine. You cannot post bond on this type of arrest order.