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. There are three ways you can plead:
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 Collin County will have an attorney present to prosecute the case against you. In some instances, you may 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 pled Guilty or No contest.
If you choose to go to Court, you are responsible for bringing all papers, pictures, and exhibits with you to our Court hearing. You may also contact the Court for information on how to subpoena witnesses.
Guilty or Nolo Contendre (No Contest)- By pleading Guilty you are admitting you were guilty of the offense. Nolo Contendre (no contest) is a neutral plea under which you are neither admitting nor denying the offense.
If you plan to plead Guilty or No Contest, the following four punishments are applicable to every case:
- You will be fined up to $500,
- Your Drivers License will be suspended for thirty days,
- You will be required to complete twelve hours of community service or complete a report about the dangers of tobacco, and
- You will be required to attend an tobacco awareness class. This class consists of two three-hour educational sessions.