The following information is intended to provide you with general information regarding questions commonly asked of the police department. It is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney in all legal matters. 

Frequently asked questions

What's the difference between a Protective Order, Restraining Order, and a Peace Bond?


Restraining Orders, Protective Orders and Peace Bonds

The following information is not offered as legal advice, but is procedural information only. The Lee County Justice of the Peace, Pct 2 Office and its employees cannot give legal advice. The information herein is not exhaustive. You should seek legal counsel from a licensed attorney if you have questions.

Restraining Orders, Protective Orders and Peace Bonds are different instruments that seek to prevent future criminal or harmful actions. They are intended to prevent, not punish. The penalties for violating these orders include fines or sanctions, confinement in jail and/or criminal charges. There is little these orders can do that the laws of Texas do not already prevent. Laws are already in place to prohibit murder, assault, stalking, terroristic threats, theft and vandalism.

Restraining Orders A Restraining Order can prevent an individual from nearly any activity that might harm you, including emptying bank accounts, selling property, canceling credit cards, harassing telephone calls, diverting mail and other similar activities. Restraining orders are only issued in conjunction with some type of civil suit. They are intended to keep the status quo until the civil suit is heard or settled by the Court. Restraining orders are most commonly sought in connection with a suit for divorce. You should seek private legal counsel for assistance.

Protective Orders A protective order is intended to prevent family violence by a member of a family or household (or former member of the household) by another member of the household that is intended to result in: * Physical harm, bodily injury or assault OR *A threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, excluding reasonable discipline of a child by a person having that duty OR * Abuse towards a child of the family or household. Call the Lee County District Attorney’s Office at 979-542-3233 to make an appointment. Their office is located on the 3rd floor of the Lee County Courthouse, 200 South Main Room , Giddings, Texas 76201. You might also seek advice and/or assistance from the Lee County Family crisis center at 888-311-7755

Peace Bonds A Peace Bond is issued by a Magistrate and requires an individual (who is not a household or family member) to post a bond conditioned that the individual will not commit a specific act of harm for a period of one year. The individual must post either a surety bond or a cash bond for one year (in the amount set by the judge after a hearing), or go to jail for one year or until adequate bond is posted. You must prove there is a just reason to believe that the offense was intended to be committed or that the threat was seriously made. A rash statement about a third person made during a quarrel, or bragging about not being afraid of someone are not considered serious threats. Abusive language and bragging by a drunk are not considered serious threats. A rash threat resulting from an outburst of temper in the heat of passion or rash statements provoked during an angry altercation are not considered serious threats. To obtain a Peace Bond, go to Judge Michael York, Justice of the Peace, Pct 2, located at 200 S Main Room 114, Giddings, Texas, M-F 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., phone number 979-542-3030. You will need to take any identifying information on the offending individual, such as name, address, work address, date of birth, social security number, or driver’s license number. You will complete an affidavit and need to be very specific with the information. Make reference to dates, locations, and specific language used in the threats. Do not be afraid to write a curse word in its entirety in the affidavit. Include in the affidavit your personal fears for yourself, your family or your property. Be sure to list names, addresses and phone numbers of witnesses who will testify. Sign the affidavit before the Court Clerk or a Notary Public.

DO NOT ask to speak to the Judge. The Judge is unable to hear the case if you have spoken to him prior to the hearing. Based only on your affidavit the Judge may issue a warrant for the immediate arrest of the offending individual. Most likely the individual will be summoned to the Court within a few days. You will not need to be there at that time. At the first court date the offending individual will be advised of the complaint against them, the possible penalties involved and their rightto counsel. An appearance bond may be set to insure their appearance at a subsequent court date, conditioned that they not accost you or your property pending the hearing. You will receive notice of a priority court date usually within ten days. The accused is not entitled to a jury trail. Call your witness and advise them of the court date and bring them to court with you. You may bring your own attorney or an Assistant District Attorney will appear. You and your witnesses will be askedto testify under oath and will be subject to cross-examination by the alleged offender or their attorney. There are no guarantees that the Court will find a bond should be set or that the accused will be jailed. Be aware that the possibility exists that even if an individual is jailed for failing to post adequate bond, they may be freed by a higher court.

These orders, while legal documents, are only pieces of paper; they are not walls, locks or bodyguards.

Copied from Justice of the Peace Pct. 2, Judge Michael York at http://www.jp2leecountytexas.com/




What are my options if I get a ticket?


This information is not offered as legal advice, nor is this information exhaustive. There may be other remedies and procedures not discussed here. You should seek professional, licensed, legal counsel for advice. A police officer or court official CANNOT tell you what you should do about any legal issues. The following only applies to the City of Giddings Municipal Court. If you are referred to a different court, please contact that court.

WHERE CAN I LOOK UP THE LAWS OF TEXAS?
The Texas Statues are available on-line at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us .


DO I HAVE TO COME TO COURT?

When you signed the citation, you DID NOT plead guilty; however, you did make a promise to appear in court. This is why officers are allowed to issue a citation for a legal violation, instead of taking you to jail.

You have a choice, depending on how you want to resolve the citation. You can appear in person, by mail, or through a lawyer hired to represent you in court. It is REQUIRED that you contact the court within the timeframe posted on the citation. The Court Clerk can provide you with details from there. Minors (under the age of 17) must appear before the court in person with a parent or guardian. They cannot plead by mail, nor can they pay a fine at the court clerk's window.

WHAT IF THE COURT IS CLOSED ON MY APPEARNCE DATE?
The best course is to submit a written answer (plea) before the appearance date. It is your responsibility to contact the court and to appear as instructed on or before the time or date provided.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON'T CONTACT THE COURT WITHIN THE PRINTED TIME PERIOD?
If you do not submit a plea before the appearance date you will receive a Violation of Promise to Appear. This is a separate violation with separate fines and fees. Also, your Drivers License cannot be renewed until all of these matters are resolved. In addition, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

DO I NEED A LAWYER?
It is not required that a defendant be represented by legal counsel, although a licensed attorney can give advice about options and procedures you may not be aware of. Defendants are certainly free to hire lawyers to represent them in court, but if a defendant cannot afford an attorney no lawyer will be appointed at the State's expense. This is because offenses within the Municipal Court's jurisdiction are punishable by fine only, and not imprisonment. Attorneys are only appointed at the State's expense when a defendant's liberty is at risk.

WHAT IS A PLEA?

There are three pleas you may enter.
GUILTY - admitting to the offense.
NO CONTEST - not admitting guilt, but not contesting the charges filed.
NOT GUILTY - disputing the charges filed. When this plea is used you have an option of a trial by Judge or
Jury.

Further, if a defendant refuses to plead, the court is required to enter a plea of Not Guilty on the defendant's behalf. A minor under the age of 17 MUST appear before the court with a parent or guardian to enter a plea - it CANNOT be done by mail, and fines cannot simply be paid to the court clerk without seeing the Judge.

WHAT IF I JUST PAY THE FINE?
If you pay the fine without explanation, the court is authorized to accept the fine and enter a conviction as
through the defendant had appeared in person and entered a plea of No Contest.

WILL A CONVICTION SHOW ON MY DRIVING RECORD?
Convictions for certain violations are reported to the Department of Public Safety and remain on your driving record for a period of time. Examples of reported convictions include:

  • All moving violations
  • Driver's License violations
  • Insurance violations
  • Some seat belt violations

While convictions are reported to DPS, not all receive "points." All questions about your driving record should be directed to DPS.


Example of convictions not reported include:

  • Vehicle Inspection violations
  • Vehicle registration violations
  • Most equipment violations

WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS IF I DO NOT WANT TO CONTEST THE CITATION?

OPTION 1. Pay the fine.

OPTION 2. Request Defensive Driving - Both the driver and offense must qualify for a driving safety course and certain requirements must be met according to the Code of Criminal Procedure, Sec. 45.0511:

  • The offense must be an offense committed while operating a motor vehicle (moving violation),
  • The driver must hold a valid Class C non-commercial Texas Drivers License
  • The driver must have valid Personal liability insurance
  • The defendant must not have taken a driver safety course to dispose of a traffic offense within the last 12 months
  • The defendant must not be currently taking a driver safety course to dispose of another offense
  • The request to take the driver safety course must be made on or before the appearance date
  • The defendant must plead Guilty or No Contest
  • The defendant must pay the court costs
  • The defendant must provide satisfactory completion of a certified driving safety course and a copy of the defendant's driving record form 3A obtained from the Department of Public Safety.

FAILURE TO PAY FEES, TAKE THE COURSE, PROVIDE PROOF OF COMPLETION, AND A CERITFIED DRIVNING RECORD IN A TIMELY MANNER WILL RESULT IN A CONVICTION OFFENSES

NOT ELIGIBLE FOR DISCHARGE THROUGH A DRIVING SAFETY COURSE:

  • Speeding 25 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit
  • Construction or maintenance work zone violations (when workers are present)
  • Failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving damage to a vehicle
  • Failure to give information or render aid
  • Reckless Driving
  • Overtaking a school bus
  • Passing a school bus while children are loading or unloading
  • Fleeing Law Enforcement
  • Offenses committed by a driver holding a CDL

FAILURE TO PAY FEES AND COST OR TO COMPLY WITH THE COURT'S CONDITIONS WILL RESULT IN A CONVICTION AND PAYMENT OF A FINE. APPROVAL FOR DEFERRED DISPOSTION IS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE JUDGE.




Where can I find Texas law?


The Texas Penal Code is online at https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/?Link=LA




How do I complain on a wrecker company?


The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation regulates tow companies. Their online complaint form is located at https://www.tdlr.texas.gov/complaints/ComplaintForm.aspx?strRadiobutton=Vehicle%20Towing




What are the alcohol laws related to Minors in Texas?


Alcohol - related offenses committed by minors Alcoholic Beverage Code 106.071 and 106.115

Underage Drinking Laws

Minors who purchase, attempt to purchase, possess, or consume alcoholic beverages, as well as minors who are intoxicated in public or misrepresent their age to obtain alcoholic beverages, face the following consequences

  1. Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $500

  2. Attend an alcohol awareness class

  3. 8 – 40 hours community service

  4. 30-180 days loss or denial of driver’s license

If a minor is 17 years of age or older and the violation is the third offense, the offense is punishable by a fine of $250 to $2,000. Confinement in jail up to 180 days or both, as well as automatic license suspension.

A minor with previous alcohol-related convictions will have his or her driver’s license suspended for one year if the minor does not attend alcohol awareness training that has been required by the Judge.

PENALTIES FOR PROVIDING ALCOHOL TO A MINOR

Adults and minors who give alcohol to a minor also face a stiff penalty. The punishment for making alcoholic beverages available to a minor is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $4,000, confinement in jail for up to a year, or both. Additionally, the violator will have his or her driver’s license suspended for 180 days.

Persons 21 or older ( other than the parent or guardian ) can be held liable for damages caused by intoxication of a minor under 18 if the adult knowingly provided alcoholic beverages to a minor or knowingly allowed the minor to be served or provided alcoholic beverages on the premises owned or leased by the adult.




How do I register a complaint on an officer?


The State of Texas requires complaints against police officers to be in writing and signed in order to discipline an officer. All written complaints are investigated in this department. The complaining party will be notified of the results. Unless your complaint is criminal in nature, it is suggested you call and speak to a supervisor first. The vast majority of our complaints are a miscommunication or misunderstanding, whether on the part of the complainant or the officer. Many simply require counseling or training to correct a behavior.




What should I do when I get pulled over?


If you see the red and blue lights behind you, don't panic. Pull over to the right as soon as possible and when it is safe. If it is night, signal the officer you see him (maybe turn your right signal on or wave), and pull into a lighted parking lot if possible. Keep your hands on the wheel and in plain sight. If night time, turn your interior light on. If you have tinted windows, roll them down. Keep in mind, statisitcally speaking, more officers are killed on traffic stops than any other situation. They may be a little cautious. The consideration you show can only make the stop easier for you AND the officer.




Do Giddings officers have a ticket quota?


No. It is illegal in the State of Texas to have a "ticket quota." In fact, in Giddings we write way more warning citations than regular ones. Our job is to get compliance with the law. Often a warning will do that; however, it is at the discretion of the officer.




What type of crimes should I report?


All of them! If you aren't sure, call us. Way too often people tell me, "Well, I didn't know if it was really anything bad and I didn't want to bother you." PLEASE BOTHER US! I would rather run 100 calls for service that turn out to be nothing, than miss one bad situation because someone didn't call.




Does Giddings allow "Ride-Alongs?"


Absolutely! We encourage it! If you are a resident or an applicant and want to see what being an officer is all about, call us and we can set you up to ride with an officer on shift. You must sign a waiver, have a valid ID, and not have a serious criminal reacord.




What are the qualifications to be a police officer?


See our recruiting page for details. The State has specific requirements and each agency has additional requirements for police officers. We are always taking applications. If there are no current openings, we will keep your application on file and call you when one becomes available.





2018 Copyright Giddings Police Department

  • Facebook Social Icon