Appearance in Court
When you appear in court you will be required to obey the following rules.
1. Appropriate clothing and shoes must be worn. T-shirts and shorts are not acceptable.
2. The wearing of hats or caps is not allowed.
3. Food and drinks are not allowed in the courtroom.
4. While the court is in session, talking is not allowed, except with authorized personnel.
5. There will be NO SMOKING in any City building.
Right to an AttorneyIn all cases in the Municipal Court, you may have an attorney represent you. When you are charged with an offense that may result in jail time as part of your sentence, you will need to decide whether you want to continue with or without an attorney. If you want an attorney and can not afford one, an attorney may be appointed to you by the Court. The court will only appoint an attorney if you are indigent and there is a possibility you may go to jail. You will be asked to fill out a financial statement regarding your income and expenses and the judge will either approve or disapprove the appointment of counsel. If you decide to proceed without an attorney, the Judge will ask you to sign a Waiver of Counsel form.
Before Court BeginsYou must decide upon and enter a plea to the charge against you. If you signed a citation in front of an officer, you did not plead guilty, but only signed a promise to appear in Court on your appearance date. There are three possible pleas to a complaint:
- Not Guilty
- No Contest
Pleading Not Guilty means you deny guilt and the City must prove in trial that the charges are true beyond a reasonable doubt. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Pleading No Contest means you do not wish to contest the City’s charge against you but wish to talk to the Judge about mitigating circumstances. Judgment will be entered by the Judge and some penalty will be set. A plea of no contest cannot be used against you in a civil suit for damages.