Court F.A.Q.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q: Is there a way to pay for the ticket without appearing in Court?

A: Some tickets can be paid without appearing in Court. You must, however, pay the ticket on or before your court date. If the ticket is not paid on or before the court date and you do not appear in court, a warrant for your arrest will be issued.

Q: How long will I have to wait until my case is called?

A: All parties should arrive prior to the time that court is scheduled to start. Approximately 30 minutes after court is scheduled to start, the Judge will call the names of the defendants on the docket. If a defendant does not answer when his or her name is called, the Judge may issue a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. The cases on the docket are not usually listed in alphabetical order so a defendant should listen carefully when the Judge calls the names.

The docket is prepared with a view toward disposing of as many cases as possible prior to beginning trials of individual cases. Cases that may be disposed of by a "guilty plea" or cases in which a party is requesting a continuance are often called early in the court session. In this manner the most defendants and witnesses are freed to leave and the courtroom and adjacent hallways become less congested. If your case is set for trial and there will be evidence, testimony and witnesses you may expect to be in court for some time. Please remain patient and quiet until your case is called to be tried.

Q: What if I need to change the date of my arraignment or trial?

A: If you need to change the date of your arraingment, contact the office of the Municipal Court Clerk. It is within the Court’s discretion to grant delays or continuances from the Court date, but the Court is reluctant to change Court dates. Before granting a continuance, the Court may require written proof of your excuse. If you need to change your trial date, you must personally appear before the Judge to make the request and the Judge may not continue your trial to another date if witnesses have been subpoenaed or are present at the time you make your request for a continuance.

Q: What if I do not appear in Court on the date set for my arraignment or trial?

A: A warrant may be issued for your arrest. If a warrant is issued, you will be required to post bond or be taken to jail and required to remain in jail until the next earliest court date. You may also be required to pay a fee when a warrant is issued and you may be required to pay for the cost of your lodging in jail. In some instances the Judge may order that you post a "cash" bond instead of a "surety bond" from an approved bondsman or bondswoman.

Q: May I bring children, family or friends to court?

A: Yes, but they may be asked to remain in the hallways if the courtroom becomes crowded or noisy. Because of limited seating, seats in the courtroom should first be occupied by defendants and their attorneys.

Q: If I have plead "Not Guilty" and requested a trial, may I change my plea to "Guilty" on the date I appear for trial.

A: Yes. If you want to change your plea on any ticket, advise the Clerk when you sign in on the date of trial. You may also advise the City Prosecutor that you wish to change your plea if you discuss your case with him on the trial date.

Q: Do I have the right to be represented by an attorney?

A: Yes. You have the right to hire an attorney and have him or her speak for you in Court. Do not contact the Office of the Public Defender. They do not represent individuals in Municipal Court cases

Q: Are there any steps I can take to move my case up on the docket?

A: The Municipal Court Clerk's office may establish procedures that will allow you "sign up" or "check in" prior to the time court begins. You may call the Clerk’s office to get information on how to "sign up" or "check in".

Q: Do I have the right to trial by jury?

A: You do have a right to request a trial by jury. Make your request for jury trial to the Judge at the time of your arraignment or at least 10 days in advance of your trial date and your case will be set for jury trial in the Circuit Court level. There is a filing fee that is required by the Circuit Court and an application must be filed in order to transfer the case to the Circuit Court level.

Q: May I smoke, eat food or snacks, or drink beverages in the courtroom or hallways?

A: No

Q: Does the Court have a Dress Code?

A:  If your attire is inappropriate for court, you may either be asked to wait in the hallway until all other cases have been disposed of or your case may be continued to another date to allow you to assemble appropriate attire for another court appearance.

Q: How do I make sure my witnesses will show up for trial?

A: The name and address of the witnesses should be given in writing to the Municipal Court Clerk at least 10 days before your trial date, the Court will then subpoena the witness to appear for trial. If you do not ask for a subpoena to be issued for your witness and for any reason the witness fails to appear, you may be required to go to trial without the witness’ testimony.