Attending Online Court

VIDEO CONFERENCING POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR

CITY OF WICHITA FALLS MUNICIPAL COURT


(Effective September 1, 2022)

The Municipal Court of Wichita Falls, Texas continues to conduct and offer participation in certain dockets, hearings and bench trials (non-jury trials) via video conferencing.  The following policies and procedures shall apply until further notice. 

 The Zoom platform will be used.  To participate in a Zoom hearing, use of an electronic device with a built-in webcam and microphone, together with an internet connection will be required.  It shall be the responsibility of all participants to download the Zoom app prior to a proceeding and ensure that they have the ability to participate by both audio and video.  Zoom is a free download at: https://zoom.us/download.  In accordance with the Open Courts Provision of the Texas Constitution, all proceedings are broadcast live into a courtroom open to the public.  Furthermore, they are recorded as the Municipal Court of Wichita Falls, Texas is a court of record.  

 INSTRUCTIONS FOR SELF-REPRESENTED PARTIES

 NOTICE:  Please be advised that members of the court staff do not represent you.  They are prohibited from giving you legal advice.   You may hire an attorney to represent you, or you may represent yourself in court.  

 The  State of Texas has the burden of proof in all cases.  While you are not required to present testimony and evidence, please be advised that should you choose to do so you are responsible for notifying and calling witnesses on your own behalf and you are responsible for producing and providing exhibits you may wish to offer into evidence at the time of trial.   The procedures set forth below regarding exhibits and witnesses are provided for your convenience and are only intended to assist you in accessing the technology used by the Court should you choose to access same.  All Texas Rules of Court and Evidence will otherwise govern all procedures and the admission of evidence at the time of trial.  

 Dockets:  To appear for a docket via video conferencing, you must

Contact court staff at 940-761-7880 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CST) at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the date and time summoned by the Court or the date and time you are expecting to appear before the Court;   

  1. Be prepared to provide all citation information, together with a current address, phone number(s) and e-mail address through which you may be reached; and
  2. Follow all general and procedural instructions provided by court staff.   

 Hearings / Non-Jury Trials.  To appear for a hearing or trial via video conferencing, you must:

 Make a request at the time you enter your plea of “not guilty” and elect a trial by judge and/or no later than seventy-two (72) hours prior to the date and time scheduled for trial;  

  1. Submit all proposed exhibits to be offered electronically, if any, no later than forty-eight (48)hours prior to the date and time of trial via email to muncourt@wichitafallstx.gov.  The only formats to be accepted include PDF for documents, JPG and PNG for images, and MP4 for audio and vidoes.  No DOC or executable files will be accepted.  Your exhibits should include your name, citation number(s) and the date and time of the trial during which you expect to offer your exhibits; 
  2. Submit the names of witnesses, if any, who may be called to appear via teleconferencing, and provide them with the necessary information to ensure their appearance at the time of trial.   All participants and witnesses should be prepared to appear through separate electronic devices and from separate physical locations in case the use of waiting (breakout) rooms become necessary.  This information should be provided to court staff no later than the day of trial and prior to the time the case is officially called to begin by the Municipal Court Judge; and
  3. Follow all general and procedural instructions provided by court staff and/or the presiding Judge.  

 General Rules.  When appearing via video conferencing, please:

 Teleconference from an appropriate location, and one without distraction(s).

  1. Dress appropriately, and remove all sunshades and hats.
  2. Do not eat, drink, smoke or vape while teleconferencing. 
  3. Do not use profanity or vulgar language.
  4. Expect and plan for delays in the calling and commencement of your particular case(s).  Most Court dockets and hearings involve many in-person and teleconferencing proceedings scheduled for the same date and time, so your patience is appreciated.  
  5. DO NOT RECORD OR TAKE PHOTOS OF THE PROCEEDING(S).THIS SHALL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED AND FAILURE TO ABIDE BY THIS RULE MAY RESULT IN A FINDING OF CONTEMPT OF COURT.    
  6. REMEMBER YOU ARE APPEARING IN OPEN COURT AS IF APPEARING IN PERSON.  CONDUCT DEEMED INAPPROPRIATE BY THE COURT MAY RESULT IN YOUR REMOVAL FROM VIDEO CONFERENCING AND  A SUMMONS BY THE COURT FOR YOU TO APPEAR IN PERSON FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS.  

All hearings conducted through the Zoom platform are subject to additional instructions as deemed appropriate by the court staff and the Court during the time of hearing, and all policies and procedures are subject to revision or change.  

 Effective this 1st day of September, 2022.