Types of Offenses
One of our newer laws in this State involves minors and tobacco. Among the more common violations we see in Justice of the Peace Court are: Purchasing or attempting to purchase tobacco, consumption of tobacco, and possession of tobacco.
The first step for a minor cited for a tobacco offense is to enter a plea. If you are under the age of 17 years you MUST enter your plea in open court before the judge.
If you wish to plead Not Guilty, you may request trial by Judge or Jury. You are not required to have an attorney in Court but you may hire one, if you wish. The District Attorney of Rockwall County will have an attorney present to prosecute the case against you. You will be able to meet with the attorney at a pre-trial conference to discuss why you are contesting the ticket. The Judge is prohibited, by Law, from discussing your ticket with you unless the District Attorney is present, or you have already plead Guilty or No Contest.
If you choose to go to Court, you are responsible for bringing all papers, pictures, and exhibits with you to your Court hearing.
You may also plead Guilty or Nolo Contendre (no contest). By pleading Guilty you are admitting you were guilty of the offense. Nolo Contendre is a neutral plea under which you are neither admitting nor denying the offense.