Types of Trials
Article 1.05 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures states that a defendant cannot be brought to trial until after being formally charged with the offense in a complaint. There are two types of trials - jury trial and bench trial - conducted in the Bowie Municipal Court of Record and in accordance with the due process requirements of the United States Constitution and Code of Criminal Procedure.
- Bench trial - When a bench trial has been selected by the defendant, the presiding judge will hear and decide the case. The defendant and prosecutor will present his or her evidence to the judge. The judge then applies the appropriate law, weighs the evidence presented, and renders a verdict of guilty or not guilty. The judge will also assess the defendant’s fine and order the costs and fees to be paid by the defendant when the defendant is found guilty. If found not guilty, the case is dismissed and no costs or fines are owed by the defendant.
- Jury trails - All jury trials will be heard by a petit jury, which consists of six persons. At a trial, defendant may be represented by an attorney or may represent themselves (“pro se”). When a jury trial has been selected by the defendant, jurors will be summoned to appear for service. The Municipal Court prosecutor and defendant will have the opportunity to question the potential jurors to learn of any biases or prejudices present that could prevent a fair and impartial trial. The defendant and the prosecutor may each strike three potential jurors from the voir dire.