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Every criminal defendant has the right to remain silent and refuse to testify (without consequence). You have the right to retain an attorney and have them try your case or answer your questions. Since offenses in this court are punishable only by fine and not incarceration, you do not have the right to appointed counsel.
You have the right to a jury trial. You may also waive your right to a jury trial and request a trial before the judge, commonly called a bench trial.
At trial you have many rights, including:
In addition to your rights, you also have legal responsibilities. The law requires you to make an appearance on your case. Your appearance date is noted on your citation, bond, summons, release paperwork, or mailed notice. You or your attorney may appear in person in open court, by mail, or you may deliver your plea in person to the court.
Your first appearance is to determine your plea. This is sometimes done at the clerk’s window or in front of the judge (if you request a first appearance court hearing). If you waive a jury trial and plead guilty or no contest, you may present extenuating circumstances for the judge to consider when setting your fine. If you plead not guilty, the court will schedule a pretrial to speak with the city prosecutor.
There are six options in disposing of your citation:
The law is very specific in what we may and may not allow for those who hold a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any type of deferred disposition or the option to complete a driver safety course. This applies even if you were driving your personal vehicle.
Some options may become unavailable if you miss your appearance date. We grant a 10-day grace period prior to warrant issuance to account for items that are mailed. Please be aware, if you have mailed in your plea and we receive it after the appearance date, you may receive a delinquency notice. These are automatically generated for each citation the day after the initial appearance date.
If you have chosen a bench or jury trial, you may represent yourself as a Pro Se defendant. However, you will be expected to follow all general rules of trial proceedings. Also, if a juvenile has requested a bench or jury trial, a parent cannot act as their attorney. They will be required to either retain a state-licensed attorney or represent themselves.
Failure to notify the court at least 24 hours in advance will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. If an emergency occurs resulting in a missed court date, documentation of the emergency situation will be required in order to have the court date rescheduled. A Request for Continuance may be found here.
A civil case results from a disagreement or dispute between two or more parties (including family cases). In a civil case, you, as a juror, must answer questions or disputed facts based upon the testimony and evidence admitted by the judge. The answers to these questions are called the verdict. Municipal courts do not hear civil cases.