From the 800 Line: Temporary Tags

In 2021, the Texas Legislature passed H.B. 3927 to combat the prevalence of unauthorized temporary motor vehicle tags. Valid temporary tags allow vehicles to be legally operated without registration (typically following a vehicle purchase). Much of H.B. 3927 focused on the creation and distribution of counterfeit temporary tags, which would result in Class B misdemeanor or higher charges. But, perhaps due to new priorities of law enforcement, Class C misdemeanor filings for drivers operating vehicles with counterfeit temporary tags seem to be on the rise since the passage of H.B. 3927. This has led to numerous questions from municipal judges and clerks asking what charge—and what fine range—should apply when police cite a driver for displaying an unauthorized temporary tag.

§ 503.067(b), T.C., states that a person may not operate a vehicle that displays a temporary tag in violation of Chapter 503, which is an entire chapter dedicated to dealer’s and manufacturer’s license plates. Under § 503.094, the fine range, “except as otherwise provided,” is $50-5,000 and can be trebled (tripled) upon a finding that the violation was committed willfully or with conscious indifference. However, § 503.094 goes on to specify that offenses under § 503.067(b) are Class C misdemeanors. Class C misdemeanor is the term used in § 12.23 of the Penal Code for fine-only misdemeanors with the punishment as “a fine not to exceed $500.”

The use of the term “Class C misdemeanor” in § 503.094(d)(1) arguably modifies the $50-5,000 range. TMCEC has interpreted this mention of Class C misdemeanors to set the fine range for offenses under § 503.067(b) or (c) as those prescribed by § 12.23 of the Penal Code: $0-500. To give effect to as much of the language in § 503.094(b) as possible, though, a judge could safely set the fine within both the Penal Code Class C range as well the $50 minimum that also appears in Section 503.094, resulting in a range of $50-500. If the defendant is demonstrated to have acted willfully or with conscious indifference, the trebled fine would range would be $150-1,500.

Either minimum fine ($0 or $50) might be reasonably read into the statute.
Some may read the statute to say that the fine range for a Class C misdemeanor under § 503.067(b) or (c) is $50-5,000 (or $150-15,000 for willful or consciously indifferent conduct). However, that reading gives no effect to the use of the legal term of art, “Class C misdemeanor,” in § 503.094(d)(1). Furthermore, there are offenses in Chapter 503 that are not itemized in Subsections (d)(1) through (d)(4) that give effect to § 503.094(b).

The Right to Counsel vs. The Right to Appointed Counsel

In criminal prosecutions, the accused has the right to be represented by counsel, to be heard by the accused or by counsel, or both. This right is enshrined in Article 1, Section 10 of the Texas Constitution and in Chapter 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, the right to representation is not the same as the right to free representation.

An indigent defendant is entitled to have an attorney appointed to represent him in any adversarial judicial proceeding that may result in punishment by confinement. Tex. Code of Crim. Proc. Art. 1.051(c). However, in “any other criminal proceeding,” the defendant is only entitled to appointed counsel “if the court concludes that the interests of justice require representation.” Id. “Any other criminal proceeding” here refers to any proceeding for which confinement may not be part of the sentence. Although a defendant may be incarcerated for, for example, failure to appear or failure to pay a fine in municipal court, incarceration may never be part of the sentence for the underlying offense. Scott v. Illinois, 440 U.S. 367 (1979).

In fine-only cases, then, there are two factors to be met before a court is required to appoint counsel: indigence and the interest of justice. In this context, indigence is simply the financial inability to employ counsel. The determination of what the interests of justice require is within the court’s discretion. Factors for a judge to consider include whether the case will involve unique matters or matters of first impression, whether the risks to liberty are grave, and whether the accused lacks the education, experience, or ability to proceed without appointed counsel. See, e.g., Valentine v. State, No. 07-12-0307-CR, 2013 Tex. App. LEXIS 5174, at *4 (Tex. App.—Amarillo Apr. 25, 2013); Barcroft v. State, 881 S.W. 2d 838, 841 (Tex. App.—Tyler 1994, no pet.)

For additional information, please see the file below as well as pages 30-31 of the October 2016 Special Edition of the Recorder, which is devoted to fines, fees, costs, and indigence.

Three Weeks Left Until the End of the Academic Year!

There are only three weeks left the end of the 2022 Academic Year, which is also the deadline for completing judicial education hours. If you are a judge still needing some hours, there are still plenty of options remaining to complete your hours.

In-Person TMCEC Conferences

If you would like an in-person educational experience, TMCEC only has a handful left. They are as follows:

August 15-16, 2022   Impaired Driving Symposium (limited space available)

August 18-19, 2022   Mental Health Conference (limited space available)

August 31, 2022 Regional Roundtable (limited space available, and only for those in Regions I-V)

Note that the number of judicial education hours offered varies by program.

If you would like to attend a seminar, please register today as there are only a handful of spots still available. You may register for a seminar by going to the registration page on our website – from the homepage of the website, click on the blue “Conferences and Events” button then select “Registration” from the drop-down menu. 

Don’t Forget the Suspension of Rules

Please keep in mind that the emergency order suspending portions of the Rules of Judicial Education is still in effect. On March 30, 2020, the Court of Criminal Appeals issued an emergency order suspending all sections of the Rules of Judicial Education that require live, continuous hours of judicial education that would prevent a judge from completing his or her hours during the disaster.   

  Here’s what you need to know regarding the order:  

  • All experienced municipal judges are still required to complete 16 hours of judicial education before August 31, 2022. Non-attorney judges must complete the 32-hour New Judges Seminar within 12 months of appointment.   
  • Typically, each judge would need to satisfy at least eight of those hours (or all 16 for a judge completing a first or second year of education) through live, continuous training. This year, however, all 16 hours can be completed by electronic means. 

Satisfy Judicial Education Requirements and S.B. 6 at the Same Time

 Note that the Magistrate Duties: Setting Bail in Criminal Cases program is available on demand. This course is TMCEC’s OCA-approved course required by S.B. 6 and is required for any magistrate that releases defendants on bail for Class B or higher offenses. Generally, magistrates must complete this course within 90 days of taking office. Magistrates that were serving on April 1, 2022, however, have until December 1, 2022.  

TMCEC will report to OCA the names of the magistrates who have completed the full 8-hour training course.

Webinars On Demand

Additionally, TMCEC currently offers dozens of webinars on demand and continues to offer new webinars frequently. Viewing webinars is a permissible method to satisfy your hours while the order is in effect.  

Waivers and Opt Outs

Finally, if you are having trouble meeting the educational requirements this year, keep in mind that you may request a waiver. If you have completed other relevant CLE or judicial education, you may submit an Intent to Opt Out form as long as you have completed at least two years of training and did not opt out of TMCEC training last year. For more information, see the alternative judicial education page on the TMCEC website.  

Clerk Certification Highlight: Jennifer Bozorgnia

Mark Goodner sat down with Jennifer Bozorgnia to discuss The Municipal Court Clerk Certification Program

MG: Jennifer, thanks for sitting down with me today to discuss clerk certification. With a goal of encouraging professional development and educational growth within the court clerk profession, program participants achieve certification upon successful completion of each of the three levels: Level I (CCCI), Level II (CCCII), and Certified Municipal Court Clerk (CMCC) or what we sometimes call Level III. Now there are only about 130 CMCCs in all of Texas. Jennifer, you are number 47! How did you get started with the certification program and how has it helped you?

JB: Hi, Mark! Thanks so much for inviting me to participate today. The clerk certification program is one I hold near-and-dear to my heart, so any opportunity to share how it’s impacted my career is always appreciated. My CMCC certification is one of my proudest professional accomplishments for so many reasons! As you mentioned, I truly believe the program elevates our profession – from increased public confidence in our judicial system to a heightened understanding of how our roles and our courts support a positive quality-of-life for our communities.

As a brand-new Deputy Court Clerk in the small-volume court of Kennedale in the 2000’s, I was incredibly fortunate to work for the BEST Court Administrator of all time. Not only did she encourage my involvement in professional organizations like the Texas Court Clerks Association (TCCA) and the Texas Municipal Courts Association (TMCA), she also provided the resources necessary to begin pursuing my certifications – registering me for education through TMCEC, offering me study-time while at work, and cheering me on throughout every step of the process. Because I took advantage of what she offered, I was able to achieve Level I and Level II certifications within 6 months of one another and immediately began pursuing Level III, thereafter. While rigorous, the Level III journey was so rewarding!

Throughout my pursuit, I applied gained knowledge to improve processes and anticipate potential downfalls for my court in Kennedale. I was well-prepared for promotional opportunities and therefore, appointed as the Court Administrator and City Magistrate when the positions opened. I learned a ton and established meaningful relationships with clerks across the state. I used all of this when applying for a management role in the City of Irving’s Municipal Court – which, ultimately, led to my next professional chapter.

During the observation portion of the CMCC program, the Irving Municipal Court graciously hosted me to fulfill my large-volume requirement. While there, I fell in love with the team, their organizational culture, and their approach to customer service. When the management role was posted for them, I knew it was right for me, BUT I was disappointed to learn that I didn’t qualify because at the time, I lacked the formal education requirements for the position. REGARDLESS, I chose to apply anyway – using my recent CMCC certification in lieu of that formal education requirement… and it worked! 

Ten years later, I’m now serving as the Director of Court Services for the City of Irving, a large-volume court, while leading a team of more than 35 dedicated professionals! I’ve used the discipline acquired during the clerk certification program to also achieve my CCM designation through the NCSC and complete my Master’s degree in Public Service and Administration through Texas A&M (Gig ‘em!) I’ve been able to take multiple leadership roles in TCCA and help cultivate the future of our profession by partnering with organizations like TMCEC and TCCA to facilitate ongoing education on meaningful and relevant topics.

Ultimately, I’m saying all of this not to impress anyone, but to impress upon EVERYONE three main takeaways:

1. As Court Clerks, our ongoing education and professional development is essential to building the public’s perception that we will always support a mission dedicated to the fair and impartial administration of justice;

2. As with any opportunity presented, you will only get out of something what you are willing to invest into it. The clerk certification program is a tool at your disposal. Use it! And lastly;

3. As leaders in public service, always remember that people may forget your name or the exact details of what you do, but they’ll never forget how you make them feel. I’ll never forget my first Court Administrator and what I felt she did for me (thank you, Bobbie!) Always be THAT type of leader – the one that always encourages growth and becoming better. Just in this, you will, undoubtedly, leave an impact!

MG: Thank you. Obviously, you are very active with TCCA and the certification program. You just told us how it has helped you personally with your own career. As a court administrator, when you encourage clerks to go through the certification process, how does that help their growth as court professionals? Do you notice a difference in the effectiveness of the court as they move throughout the process?

JB: Oh, that’s a great question! I believe there are so many perspectives to consider when answering this, but from my experience in both a small and large-volume court, I think it all comes down to confidence. Every court, no matter their size, is constantly tasked with overcoming challenges. Our challenges in Irving are much different than those that were present while I was in Kennedale.

For example, in Kennedale our resources were limited. Our judge and prosecutor were contracted, part-time, allowing us to schedule dockets only once per month. We were a staff of three – two clerks and a marshal, and we were cross-trained to assist with water utilities when billing clerks were out of the office. To be even more efficient, as the Court Administrator, I was appointed to also serve as the City Magistrate to review and conduct all statutory proceedings arising from an arrest by a KPD officer. Our general fund budget allocation was minimal and our special revenue funds (such as Court Technology and Building Security) were only as healthy as the number of citations issued (and the amount we collected).

However, in Irving these specific obstacles are factored in much less. Due to our size, though, we have other concerns to consider instead. For instance, we’re a constant target for the media’s scrutiny of the judicial system, our team is specialized by division – leaving them at a disadvantage to fully understand caseflow management from beginning to end, we’re always balancing operational efficiency with the motivational factors of more than 35 different team members– and that’s just to name a few!

Overall, no obstacle is greater in one place than the obstacle in another, it’s just a different obstacle – regardless of the organization’s size. This is why I think clerks’ professional growth and effectiveness are primarily achieved when they gain confidence; confidence in the knowledge learned throughout the program and confidence in reliable connections made with other clerks across the state, whether through TCCA, TMCEC, TMCA, etc. Ultimately, in my opinion this gained confidence strengthens the ability for them to make effective decisions. When I encourage clerks to complete the certification process, my hope is that they become empowered to not only make decisions wisely, but also equipped to defend those decisions using the appropriate tools taught to them throughout the program.

MG: I imagine some new court employees considering certification are worried about taking that on while others can’t wait to get started. I personally think it is such a fantastic way for someone to turn a job into a profession and a career. If someone is just entering the profession and is considering beginning the court certification journey, what advice would you give them?

JB: You hit the nail on the head, Mark. I deeply believe the certification “journey” helps transform our job into a career! To better understand this transformation, we can take a quick look at the origin of the word “career.” According to, it’s derived from the Latin word, carrus, or chariot, and later evolves to “signify the path chosen as one’s life’s work.” With that definition, it could easily be construed to mean that our job becomes a career when we choose to use it as the vehicle, or method, to achieve our life’s work.

For those just getting started or for those considering the journey, I’ll leave you with this bit of advice – first, make the commitment and just do it. Do it even when you don’t feel like doing it anymore. I guarantee your reward will far outweigh any reminder of how hard you thought it would be to accomplish it. Second, share your journey – the good and the bad. Let us celebrate you when things are great and let us encourage you when they’re not. You never know how your story could positively impact others around you. Lastly, don’t forget to approach the certification program as your vehicle to transform your job as a court clerk into your career as a public service professional! It won’t happen overnight, but nothing worth working for ever does. Embrace the process of your journey and you’ll, inevitably, result in being better because of it.

MG: Thank you so much for sharing your story and your thoughts, Jennifer. Those looking for more information can find it on the clerk certification page of the TMCEC website. The TCCA website is an abundant source of information, as well.

Resource Highlight: Dual Office-Holding Made Easy

TMCEC often receives requests for information about dual office-holding. If you ever encounter these concerns, we first strongly suggest that you contact the city attorney with employment questions. In the end, legal advice about who a city employs and how should come from your own attorney, who may be familiar with confidential matters to which TMCEC cannot be privy.

We can direct you to an excellent resource through the Texas Municipal League, optimistically titled “Dual Office Holding and Incompatibility Laws Made Easy.” Authored by Assistant General Counsel Zindia Thomas and Law Clerk Paloma Dominguez, the publication is available here (also embedded below). While it does not cover every possible permutation of the question of who may be a judge, it does an excellent job of laying out the basics and giving a foundation on the intent behind Texas dual office holding law. The fact that there are so many Attorney General Opinions related to dual office holding shows that every situation is unique.

From the 800 Line: Corporate Defendants

TMCEC staff attorneys answer legal questions on the 800 line (1.800.252.3718) every weekday. Below is a question received this week, a summary of TMCEC’s response, and some helpful resources.

800 Line Question: Our court has a backlog of violations issued to corporations and associations. Is it true that we cannot issue warrants for corporations? If so, how do we require appearance and how do we enforce judgments?

TMCEC: The rules for serving corporations are in Chapter 17A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. While warrants for corporations are not prohibited in so many words, no individual may be arrested upon a complaint against a corporation or association, which has the same practical effect. CCP 17A.03(b). However, if a corporation is served through its registered agent for service of process and either fails to appear in response to a summons or appears by counsel and refuses to enter a plea, the corporation is deemed to appear for all purposes and to have entered a plea of not guilty. CCP 17A.04. The court may proceed with trial, judgment, and sentencing in absentia. Enforcing a judgment against a corporation may present an issue given Article 17A.03(b)’s prohibition. However, recall that a municipal court has civil authority to enforce a judgment. CCP 45.047. In addition, the court is instructed to notify the Secretary of State of convictions once they are final and unappealable. CCP 17A.09.

If a charge against a corporate defendant is in your court, the TMCEC Bench Book is a great place to start. Every page of the Bench Book is accessible online, and here (available at the link as well as embedded below) is the chapter specific to Corporations and Associations.

TMCEC’s 2022 Mental Health Conference is Two Weeks Away!

Mark Goodner sat down with Regan Metteauer to discuss TMCEC’s upcoming Mental Health Conference

MG: Regan, the Mental Health Conference is quickly approaching. If I’m not mistaken, this will be our fourth Mental Health Conference—they began in 2016 and we have had them every two years. For those that have never been, can you tell us a little bit about the conference and why someone may want to attend?

RM: That’s correct, Mark. The inaugural conference in 2016 was born out of collaboration. Because it was the first conference of its kind for TMCEC and because of the importance of the topic, we reached out to the National Center for State Courts (NCSC) for guidance on the landscape of mental health in Texas and the United States. Patti Tobias, a state court liaison from NCSC, suggested we convene individuals from each point in the criminal justice system (law enforcement, behavioral health, jail, court, etc.) to help us plan our first agenda. That first planning meeting taught us the importance of gathering together, sharing information and perspectives, and making connections. And that really is what the conference is all about. It’s not a matter of if mental health will have an impact on a municipal court, it’s when. One in five adults in the U.S. have a mental illness. Our courts see the greatest number of defendants compared to other Texas courts. Because of the sheer volume and subject matter jurisdiction (e.g, disorderly conduct, public intoxication—which can be manifestations of mental illness) of cases filed in municipal court, attendees will be able to apply what they learn at this conference on a regular basis.  

MG: This will take place at the Omni Corpus Christi Hotel on August 18-19. I should also mention that this conference is open to municipal judges, magistrates, clerks, court administrators, and prosecutors. Am I leaving anyone out?

RM: Juvenile case managers are welcome, too. We will have a session on the second day focusing on children and schools. There will be something for every attendee on the agenda. Mental health affects various aspects of a case beginning at magistration all the way through disposition. At each point in a case, there are things we can do to improve the court’s response to mental illness. Not only that, mental health affects judges and court staff personally or vicariously. We have a session on mental health and well-being for judges and court personnel that I hope all attendees benefit from hearing.

MG: I have always been impressed with this program, and we often get to see new topics and different faculty than are at many of other programs. Is there any topic or speaker that you are especially interested in seeing this year?

RM: I’m so excited about this year’s agenda. It would be difficult to choose one topic or speaker because I can’t wait to see all of them. I do want to mention a couple of new sessions TMCEC has never offered before. The first is Community Response: Suicide Awareness and Prevention. This is a topic that is crucial to talk about but sometimes avoided. It will be applicable to all attendees as community members. The second is a session on peer support. Due to the growing evidence around the practice over the past decades, peer support is now considered an evidence-based practice. Though the concept has been around since the 1970’s, our courts may have never heard of it. Last month, the National Judicial Taskforce to Examine State Courts’ Response to Mental Illness, with funding from the State Justice Institute, released a paper on peers in courts, which will be addressed in this presentation. I’m eager for our courts to learn more about peer support.

MG: Thanks for the information, Regan. Those interested can see the agenda here. If anyone is interested in registering, that can be done here: The Mental Health Conference registration fee is $50 which includes up to two nights’ hotel stay (for eligible participants). Participants can obtain 12 hours of judicial education or clerk certification credit. CLE up to 10.5 hours is offered to attorneys ($100 CLE reporting fee).

S.B. 6 Training Deadline: 90 Days or December 1, 2022?

Any municipal judge or magistrate has certainly heard about or discussed all of the bail-related changes as a result of S.B. 6 passing in August of 2021. TMCEC and other judicial training entities have offered and continue to offer training that satisfies Art. 17.024 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, as added by S.B. 6. But how long do magistrates have?

Magistrates should take care to remain mindful of the compliance deadlines, as listed in Art. 17.024(c) and (c-1). There are two different deadlines depending on when a magistrate takes (or took) office. Generally, magistrates are in compliance with the training requirements if they successfully completes an approved 8-hour training course not later than the 90th day after the date the magistrate takes office.

Most municipal judges that TMCEC trains currently, however, fall under an exception allowing magistrates who were serving on April 1, 2022 to be considered in compliance by completing the training course not later than December 1, 2022.

Any magistrate who has taken office on April 2, 2022 or after should be aware that the clock has begun! Thankfully, TMCEC’s course is available on demand.

TMCEC offered its approved course, Magistrate Duties: Setting Bail in Criminal Cases, on June 15, 2022. The course was then made available on demand on the Online Learning Center (OLC) in late June. The course is a sequenced 8 hours of instruction, approved by OCA. It consists of the following presentations:

1.            The Changing Landscape of the Law of Bail in Texas: Overview & Case Processing

2.            The Basics: Bail and Bonds in Texas

3.            Personal Bonds: Utility and Limits

4.            Constitutional Concerns, Case Law, and the Texas Magistrate

5.            Mandatory and Discretionary Bond Conditions

6.            Bail and Individuals with Mental Illness and Intellectual Disabilities

7.            Documentation and Reporting: Roles and Responsibilities of Court Personnel

8.            A TMCEC Primer on Criminal Record History Information and Court Access

There is no registration fee for the event. Attendance counts for 8 hours of Judicial Education and Clerk Certification credit. TMCEC will report to OCA the names of the magistrates who have completed the full 8-hour training course. This event is approved for up to 7 hours of CLE. The CLE reporting fee is $50 and can be purchased when registering.  

To register:

1. Go to

2. Enter your TMCEC username and password and click Login. If you do not have your TMCEC login information, call us at 800.252.3718.

3. Once you’re logged in, select the OLC tab from the options at the top of the page.

4. Then select: SB6 Course: Magistrate Duties Setting Bail in Criminal Cases

5. Follow the steps to register for the course.

6. This will automatically redirect you to the appropriate webpage to complete the course.

7.  Check out instructions under the “Announcements” tab.

The 2022 Impaired Driving Symposium is Quickly Approaching!

Mark Goodner sat down with Ned Minevitz to discuss the 2022 Impaired Driving Symposium.

MG: Ned, we are two weeks away from the judges Impaired Driving Symposium (IDS). It is in many ways a different program from TMCEC’s typical offerings. For the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with it, could you tell us a little bit about IDS?

NM: IDS is unique in that TMCEC co-hosts it with the Texas Justice Court Training Center, Texas Center for the Judiciary, and Texas Association of Counties. As such, judges from multiple levels of the Texas judiciary attend. This makes for an excellent networking opportunity. I would particularly recommend this conference to judges that sign blood warrants and set bond conditions on impaired driving cases. The faculty does a great job illustrating the role these procedures play in the lifespan of an impaired driving case.  I think it is valuable for municipal judges that perform these functions to understand them as part of a broad context. Conversing with county judges that preside over DWI trials really helps achieve this.

MG: Thanks, Ned. This year’s symposium takes place August 15-16 in Bee Cave at the Sonesta Hotel. Do we still have spots available? If so, how can someone register?

NM: Yes! There are spots left. Municipal judges may register at To view the agenda and other important information about this seminar, check out

IDS Flyer

MG: This is also a program funded by TxDOT and there are many expenses that are covered, right? This would not be as costly to city budgets as many other programs, isn’t that true?

NM: That is absolutely correct. TxDOT recognizes the critical role judges play in impaired driving prevention, so they have generously offered to reimburse travel and meals (within state and federal limits) for participants. Participants can receive a free night at the Sonesta Hotel as long as they live and work at least 30 miles from the conference site. For attorneys, CLE reporting is also free courtesy of TxDOT.

MG: That’s good to know. Finally, are there any topics or speakers you are especially excited about this year?

NM: Everything on the agenda excites me, but if I had to identify one topic, it would probably be the Search & Seizure class presented by Judge David Newell from the Court of Criminal Appeals. He brings levity and humor that really take his presentations to the next level.

MG: Judge Newell is always great. That will be a good session. Thanks for the information, Ned. We hope to see a good number of municipal judges there!

E-Filing in Municipal Courts

TMCEC has fielded questions regarding the authority of municipal courts to implement and use electronic filing, or e-filing, systems. In 2017, the Supreme Court of Texas and Court of Criminal Appeals issued an order, Misc. Docket No. 17-9039, requiring certain courts to adopt e-filing procedures. While municipal (and justice) courts are not included as requiring implementation, a careful reading of this order reveals that it certainly may apply to municipal courts. We would particularly direct attention to three of the rules.

First, although municipal courts are not required to do so, there is express permission to opt in and adopt an e-filing system for criminal cases.

Rule 1.1. The rules govern electronic filing of documents with the clerk in criminal cases in appellate courts, district courts, statutory county courts, and constitutional county courts… A justice court or municipal court may implement criminal case electronic filing. If a justice court or municipal court implements an electronic filing system, the system must comply with these rules.

Second, if a municipal court opts in, it must follow the rules set out in 2017. Once e-filing is implemented, all attorneys must, and all other defendants may, file electronically. However, courts may not reject paper filings from unrepresented parties.

Rule 1.2. … Once a court [implements] electronic filing, attorneys must electronically file all documents, pleadings, and materials filed in that court through the electronic filing portal provided or approved by the Office of Court Administration, except where these rules or other Texas law allow or mandate non-electronic (paper) filing. Attorneys must not file documents through any alternative electronic document filing transmission system, except in the event of an emergency or where these rules provide for the use of the alternative filing transmission system. Unrepresented parties may electronically file documents but it is not required.

Third, the rules specify what e-filing providers are acceptable, generally.

Rule 2.1. Electronic filing must be done through the electronic filing manager established by the Office of Court Administration and an electronic filing service provider certified by the Office of Court Administration or through another electronic filing portal approved by the Office of Court Administration.

The Office of Court Administration (OCA) currently contracts with Tyler Technologies to provide an e-filing system. Although OCA is in the process of re-procuring and restructuring this process, it appears that the new system will also be hosted by Tyler Technologies. Additional information is available here.

The system also allows filing through another portal approved by OCA. Courts considering adopting e-filing should contact OCA for additional information.