A ticket (misdemeanor case) cannot be dismissed unless it is filed. If it is not filed, it is not charged. How long they have to file it is controlled by this question is controlled by Texas' Statute of Limitations, which states that in order to be prosecuted, misdemeanor charges must be filed within 2 years of the alleged date of occurrence. I recommend calling an attorney and having that attorney check the status of the ticket with the court where it was filed (probably municipal or Justice of the Peace Court for a ticket). We will check the status for you at no charge (to see whether it has been filed, and provide other basic information).
ANSWER: As a traffic ticket attorney in San Antonio, Texas who took care of over 1,500 traffic citations last year, I can tell you it is not uncommon for police officers to fail to turn in a ticket.
Unfortunately, the police have 2 years to turn in your ticket to the court. If the ticket hasn't been turned in within 2 years, the law says you cannot be prosecuted for it.
If you show up on your appearance date and your ticket has not been turned in, try to get some form of proof from the court stating it has not been turned in yet.
In theory, if you show up at the court on the appearance date listed on your ticket and the ticket hasn't been turned in by the officer yet, it is supposed to be the court's job to notify you of the next appearance date. Unfortunately, you will find many courts don't follow the law, so if you don't check back regularly and the officer turns in your ticket after your original appearance date, they will just issue a failure to appear. You will only find out the ticket has been turned in when you get a warrant or failure to appear notice. Really aggravating!
Also, if you move or change addresses, the court isn't likely to know that. They may send out a notice to you at your old address of a new appearance date once the cop turns your ticket in, but the court will have "no way" to contact you, because they aren't going to check with DPS to see if your address has changed. This is another way you can possibly not get notice of a new appearance date and end up with a warrant out for your arrest.
In short, you have to show up on your appearance date, but the cops don't have to. Sort of a bummer. My traffic ticket firm offers a service where we will regularly check in with the court to see if a client's ticket has been turned in, if it was not in the system on the original appearance date. The court will also notify my firm once it has been turned in, so the client doesn't have to worry about checking in constantly.
This answer is for informative purposes only and no attorney/client relationship has been formed. Feel free to contact me during the week at 210-745-0144 for additional information and to speak to a traffic ticket lawyer. You may also fill out our traffic ticket form on our website at www.TrafficTicketSA.com.
Justin A. Coquat, J.D.
The Coquat Law Firm is based in San Antonio, Texas and answers questions on AVVO.com for general information purposes only. Attorney answers are intended to be informative opinions only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship. If you would like to hire an attorney from The Coquat Law Firm, please call us at 210-745-0144.