…[I]n each misdemeanor case tried in a court of record, the judge shall, before the argument begins, deliver to the jury… a written charge distinctly setting forth the law applicable to the case; not expressing any opinion as to the weight of the evidence, not summing up the testimony, discussing the facts or using any argument… calculated to arouse the sympathy or excite the passions of the jury.
-Article 36.14, Code of Criminal Procedure
TMCEC's Jury Charge Bank was established in 2007 with contributions by the Honorable Sara Hartin, Presiding Judge of the New Braunfels Municipal Court, and has since been updated thanks to Sue Kennedy and the City of Corinth and others.
The Jury Charge Bank is a series of Microsoft Word documents with suggested language for fine-only state law violations, and selected city ordinance violations. Download the documents to your own computer, and then edit the charge carefully so that it includes the information required for your specific case.
If you are looking for a charge for an offense not listed here, join one of the TMCEC listservs (for municipal judges, court administrators, or prosecutors) by emailing Hope Lochridge (email@example.com) with a request to be added to the listserv. Users often ask others for sample jury charges and the listserv is a great way to reach a large group of constituents who are more than willing to share.
Submissions to the Jury Charge Bank are welcome, and should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.