Our J.P.s use a complaint only as the charging instrument. A defendant (speeding ticket) is now challenging the court's jurisdiction because an information was not filed in his case. I am having trouble finding any law stating that an information is not required in addition to a complaint in a case filed in a j.p. court. Thanks.
Look at Chapter 45 of the CCP. It sets out the "rules" for JP (or Justice) Court. To proceed on a Class C misdemeanor in JP Court your officer need only swear out a complaint. But the complaint has to meet the requisites of Art. 45.019.
An information is only required of Class A or B misdemeanors in County Court.
From what I have heard from our Troopers, most people waive filing of the complaint; they simply pay the ticket or ask, and get, deferred adjudication. However, if a defendant pleads "not guilty" and requests a trial, then the Trooper files the written complaint required by Article 45.019. Troopers consider the citation--or arrest ticket as they call it--a notice and promise to appear. I wish there was a different name for the filing instrument in JP or MC court because I find that people mix up the complaint filed with a county or district attorney in a Class B or above offense with the charging instrument in a fine only misdemeanor.
Look at CCP 27.14(d). In summary, it says that if written notice (i.e. ticket) of an offense punishable by fine only has been filed with the court and a copy has been delivered to the defendant, this written notice serves as the complaint to which the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
If the defendant pleads not guilty, that is when you would file a complaint that conforms to CCP 45.019. A defendant may waive this later sworn complaint and proceed on the original ticket complaint if he agrees with the prosecution in writing and files this request with the court.
An information is also not necessary in an appeal from municipal or JP court to County Court. The Attorney General has issued an opnion (No. JM-869) that states the original ticket may serve as the complaint in a trial de novo in County Court, "because the original complaint in the justice court serves as the functional equivalent of an information in County Court." (Blevins v. State, 672 SW2d 828)
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