VIRTUAL COURT APPEARANCE INSTRUCTIONS
The Austin Justice Court uses ZOOM for the video hearings. All parties should load and test the appropriate ZOOM app to their device well prior to the start of the hearing. YOUR DEVICE MUST HAVE A CAMERA AND MICROPHONE OR YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PARTICIPATE. To test your device, please CLICK HERE. The link to the actual Virtual Court hearing session will be emailed to you after you make a request to participate.
Defendants that contact the court seeking to participate in Virtual Court must email the court a copy of their driver’s license or government issued photo ID, have internet access (smartphone is ok) and an email address. Prior to scheduled time of Virtual Hearing, participants must access the link supplied and ensure that it works properly on their device. Those wishing to participate MUST CONTACT THE COURT AT LEAST 24 HOURS PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED HEARING TIME and supply the following:
Copy of Driver’s License or Government Issued Photo ID
Best Phone Number
If Defendant plans to enter a Not Guilty plea, he or she must fill out and execute a Not Guilty Plea and Waiver Form and submit it to the Court along with the above described documentation at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. The Waiver Form will be emailed to defendant by the court clerk and must be actually signed. A ‘typed signature’ will not be accepted. If in doubt as to whether the Defendant plans to enter a Not Guilty plea, it is highly recommended that the Defendant submit a Waiver Form. If Defendant instead enters a Guilty or No Contest plea at the hearing, the Waiver will be disregarded. If the Defendant has not submitted a Not Guilty plea and Waiver Form, the Court will not be able to accept the Not Guilty plea.
The Virtual Traffic Court Session will open thirty (30) minutes prior to the hearing time and Defendants may log in at that time. The Calendar will be handled in order of the Court’s receipt of the emailed notices to appear. Defendants should be sure that the device they are using to access the Hearing is fully charged or plugged in and that they are in an area of good reception with a quiet background. Participants should click on the appropriate link at the bottom of this page to participate in the session. Participants (also known as ‘Defendants’) are those people who have a citation pending before the Court and wish to enter a plea and address the Court regarding their matter. Observers are welcome to view the proceedings but only those people who have provided the notification discussed above will be able to address the Court. Observers are not allowed to participate and will only be able to view and hear the proceedings. The Hearing will be recorded. As the Defendants will be visible to the Court and each other, appropriate dress is required.
The Court will swear in all Defendants and talk about the session with all Defendants and then address the Defendants’ matters one by one.
Defendants entering a Not Guilty plea (see discussion above relating to completion of the Not Guilty Plea and Waiver Form) will then be given a date to come in to Court for his or her Pretrial Conference. A Pretrial Conference is a meeting between the Defendant, The Defendant’s attorney (if any) and the Deputy District Attorney to see if the matter can be resolved. If the matter is not resolved at the Pretrial Conference, it will be set for Trial. If a Defendant enters a Guilty or No Contest plea, he or she will be found guilty and sentenced at the hearing.
AFTER THE HEARING
Immediately after the Defendant’s appearance before the Judge, he or she will be contacted by the Court’s Clerk to receive additional information on payment of the fines, receipt of paperwork and final instructions. Defendants who entered a Not Guilty plea will be given a day and time for the Pretrial Conference at the hearing and provided a document by the Court’s Clerk immediately after the hearing.
Defendants who entered a Guilty or No Contest plea were sentenced by the Court. The Court’s Clerk will provide these Defendants with the Case Summary and any Orders from the Court.