A new website offering citation by publication went live on July 1, 2020, but it doesn’t pertain to the type of citation we are used to handling in Texas municipal courts. Citations (as class C misdemeanor charging instruments) are not required to be entered into the website. Rather, the website pertains to civil matters.
Article 20 of Senate Bill 891 required OCA to develop a searchable website that includes certain types of notices to be posted by law. For clarity, OCA offers the “Laws & Rules” pertaining to this website, which can be seen below.
Notably, the rules requiring change are rules of civil procedure, not rules of criminal procedure. This website does not pertain to criminal citations, as there is not a statute or rule requiring publication of criminal citations.
Some courts grew concerned after receiving a June 29, 2020 email from OCA (COVID-19 Update #11) that included this section:
A quick glance and the fact that citation has multiple meanings under the law led some to believe that this was a new requirement for municipal courts with regard to criminal citations. Rest assured–this does not apply to criminal citations.