By:  Jackson                                          S.B. No. 1681
         Line and page numbers may not match official copy.
         Bill not drafted by TLC or Senate E&E.
                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
 1-1                                   AN ACT
 1-2     relating to the procedures governing the prosecution and
 1-3     administration of misdemeanor offenses in the jurisdiction of the
 1-4     justice and municipal courts.
 1-6           SECTION 1.  Section 27.14, Code of Criminal Procedure, is
 1-7     amended to read as follows:
 1-8           (a)  A plea of "guilty" or a plea of "nolo contendere" in a
 1-9     misdemeanor case may be made either by the defendant or his counsel
1-10     in open court; in such case, the defendant or his counsel may waive
1-11     a jury, and the punishment may be assessed by the court either upon
1-12     or without evidence, at the discretion of the court.
1-13           (b)  A defendant charged with a misdemeanor for which the
1-14     maximum possible punishment is by fine only may, in lieu of the
1-15     method provided in Subsection (a) of this article, mail or deliver
1-16     in person to the court a plea of "guilty" or a plea of "nolo
1-17     contendere" and a waiver of jury trial.  The defendant may also
1-18     request in writing that the court notify the defendant, at the
1-19     address stated in the request, of the amount of an appeal bond that
1-20     the court will approve.  If the court receives a plea and waiver
1-21     before the time the defendant is scheduled to appear in court, the
1-22     court shall dispose of the case without requiring a court
1-23     appearance by the defendant.  The court shall notify the defendant
 2-1     either in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of
 2-2     the amount of any fine assessed in the case and, if requested by
 2-3     the defendant, the amount of an appeal bond that the court will
 2-4     approve.  The defendant shall pay any fine assessed or give an
 2-5     appeal bond in the amount stated in the notice before the 31st day
 2-6     after receiving the notice.
 2-7           (c)  In a misdemeanor case for which the maximum possible
 2-8     punishment is by fine only, payment of a fine, or an amount
 2-9     accepted by the court constitutes a finding of guilty in open
2-10     court, as though a plea of nolo contendere had been entered by the
2-11     defendant and constitutes a waiver of a jury trial in writing.
2-12           (d)  If written notice of an offense for which maximum
2-13     possible punishment is by fine only or of a violation relating to
2-14     the manner, time, and place of parking has been prepared,
2-15     delivered, and filed with the court and a legible duplicate copy
2-16     has been given to the defendant, the written notice serves as a
2-17     complaint to which the defendant may plead "guilty," "not guilty,"
2-18     or "nolo contendere."  If the defendant pleads "not guilty" to the
2-19     offense, a complaint shall be filed that conforms to the
2-20     requirements of Chapter 45 of this code, and that complaint serves
2-21     as an original complaint.  A defendant may waive the filing of a
2-22     sworn complaint and elect that the prosecution proceed on the
2-23     written notice of the charged offense if the defendant agrees in
2-24     writing with the prosecution, signs the agreement, and files it
2-25     with the court.