Information for attorneys representing defendants in Tomball Municipal Court
Tomball Municipal Court Policies for Attorneys
Revised September 10, 2018
Letters of Representation:
A letter of representation is required. Once submitted, you will become the attorney of record for your client’s case until such time as the case is finally disposed or your written request to withdraw is granted by the Court.
If you have Standing Agreements with other attorneys to appear on behalf of your client, you must provide the names of all such attorneys in your letter of representation.
Requests for Continuance:
A written Motion for Continuance is required, and your motion must be submitted on or before the date of “Initial Appearance” Dockets, “Attorney Conference” Dockets, or “Pre-Trial” Dockets and no less than 10 calendar days prior to Trial Dockets.
Faxed or emailed motions will be accepted if the motions include all required signatures and verifications. Each request for reset will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Continuances will be liberally granted to attorneys as long as diligent plea negotiations are taking place. The Court will balance the need for a reset based on the legitimate time conflicts experienced by attorneys and the Court’s need to move its docket.
If your Motion for Continuance is granted, you will be sent a letter or email notifying you of the new court setting.
If your client’s case does not progress sufficiently after multiple continuances, the Court may set your case to the “Pre-trial” Docket and require you and/or your client to appear in person.
As the attorney of record, you or any attorney listed on your letter of representation may appear for your client at an "Initial Appearance" Docket or "Attorney Conference" Docket to discuss the case with the prosecutor, enter a plea, or obtain a reset without the Defendant having to appear.
Generally, Defendants must appear at "Pre-Trial" Docket settings. However, the Court may on a case-by-case basis allow you to appear at a “Pre-trial” Docket without your client. Defendants and attorneys must both appear in person when the Court orders a hearing under Code of Criminal Procedure Art. 28.01.
The State must appear in person and comply with all mandatory discovery requirements at the “Pre-Trial” Docket.
No case may be scheduled for trial until the Defendant and/or his attorney appear in person for a “Pre-trial” Docket.
Defendants as well as attorneys MUST appear in person for all Trial Docket settings.
If you and your client fail to appear in person at any scheduled docket hearing and no continuance is granted, a “Failure to Appear” charge may be filed against your client.
If your case is set for Jury Trial, the Court expects you and your client to appear on your scheduled trail date ON TIME and ready to proceed with trial. Unexcused lateness or absenteeism will not be tolerated if jury panel members suffer inconvenience or discomfort as a result.
You may be able to dispose of your case without ever having to appear in person for a Docket.
If you wish, you may negotiate with the prosecutor via email at firstname.lastname@example.org "attention: Prosecutor". Prosecutors are expected to answer your correspondence within 2-3 days. If you do not get a response from a prosecutor to your email inquiry within 7 days, please notify the Court by emailing email@example.com “attention: Presiding Judge”.
If you conduct email negotiations, you must request monthly continuances to keep your client’s case on our active Docket until your case is finally disposed.
If you successfully negotiate a plea bargain for your client, you may request that your client go to the Court Clerk's office at his/her convenience during business hours to enter a plea, arrange for payment, and sign paperwork no later than your next scheduled appearance date. If you wish to avoid having your client come to Court, then you will be responsible for submitting all the required paperwork no later than your next scheduled appearance date.
Attorneys may sign pleas on behalf of clients, but Defendant signatures are REQUIRED on Orders for Defensive Driving and Orders for Deferred Dispositions before the orders can be executed. Defendant signatures may be sent electronically, but attorneys are expected to facilitate completion of all required documents no later than the next scheduled appearance date. Plea forms are available on our website page "Forms". Orders will be printed out and mailed after pleas are received and fines/fees are paid.
If you fail to submit all required plea paperwork by your scheduled appearance date, the Court may schedule your case for a "Pre-trial" hearing and require you and/or your client to appear in person.
If your client wishes to pay his fine in installments, then he/she must appear in person at the Court Clerk's office during business hours to complete a payment plan application.
Other payment options, including an online payment option, are explained on the Tomball Municipal Court website.
Posting an Attorney Bond:
In order to post an attorney bond, you must be on the approved Harris County Surety list.
The Court does not accept out of county bonds.