Municipal Court Trials
The first two court dates of each month are for regular dockets or plea dockets.
When the regular docket is heard, those who have received a citation will be called up to the bench and asked if they plead "guilty" or "not guilty" to each charge on the citation. A guilty plea will most likely result in a fine and the imposition of court costs at that time. If the defendant is eligible for traffic safety school, that option will be discussed at that time. However, should a party plead not guilty to any charge on the citation, the matter will be re-set for a trial. Trials are held on the third court date of each month.
Representation & Evidence
The litigant should be prepared to return to court on their trial date, and may represent themselves, or hire and bring an attorney to represent them at their Trial. The litigant should also bring any relevant witnesses, documents or exhibits that they wish to present for the court's consideration during their trial. The officer who wrote the citation will also be required to be present to tell his or her side of the story.
At trial, the City bears the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence in most cases. At the close of the trial, the Judge will make her ruling on the cited charges. If the defendant is found not guilty at trial, the charge will be dismissed and the defendant will owe no fine or court costs. If the defendant is found guilty at trial, the Judge has the discretion to assess fines and court costs. If the defendant happens to lose their case at trial, the Judge will not assess greater fines and court costs simply because a defendant requested and participated in a trial. The requesting of and participation in a trial is a right, and does not, in and of itself, subject a defendant to any greater penalty whether they win or lose at that trial.