THE INITIAL APPEARANCE - ALL IN-PERSON COURT APPEARANCES REQUIRE WEARING A MASK
This may be your first visit to this Court and it is our desire that you be fully advised of your rights and the Court's procedures. The Initial Appearance session of the Court is primarily for the purpose of taking your plea to the alleged violation of the law.
- When your name is called, come forward promptly to a position in front of the bench, facing the Judge.
- The Court will inform you of the exact charge against you and will request that you enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
- If this is your initial scheduled appearance date, you have a right to request a continuance, which may allow you to consult with an attorney.
ENTERING A PLEA
GUILTY PLEA: If you enter a plea of GUILTY you are admitting that you committed the offense. You will be found guilty and a penalty will be imposed.
NO CONTEST PLEA: If you enter a plea of NO CONTEST you are pleading neither guilty nor not guilty. Instead, you merely want to have the matter resolved and pay the penalty. The effect of this plea is that you will be found guilty but you will not be admitting your civil liability for use in other litigation, which may occur when personal injury or property damage is involved.
IF YOU ARE FOUND GUILTY: If you are convicted you will be found guilty, AND:
- You will be given an opportunity to make a statement before the Court examines your conviction record and sets the penalties.
- Should you need time to pay the penalty (if you cannot pay in full today) the Court may grant you a reasonable time to pay. If you fail to pay when due, the Court may set an alternative penalty of imprisonment in jail, suspend your driving privileges, suspend vehicle registration and/or tax refund intercept.
NOT GUILTY PLEA: If you enter a plea of NOT GUILTY you deny committing the offense and the matter will be adjourned to a later court date for either a pre-trial conference with the city prosecutor or a Court trial.
PRETRIAL - ALL IN-PERSON PRETRIAL APPEARANCES REQUIRE WEARING A MASK
If you plead not guilty a pretrial conference with the city prosecutor will be set. Your personal appearance is mandatory. The judge does not participate in pretrial hearings, nor does he have to accept any negotiated or amended charge. If a settlement can not be reached at the pretrial, the matter will be set for trial.
FAILURE TO APPEAR
If you fail to appear at your scheduled pretrial or court trial, the Court will either issue an arrest warrant for your immediate arrest, or will enter a Default Judgment against you.
Only if you have been charged with the offense of Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of an Intoxicant, are you entitled to a jury trial on a plea of not guilty. You must file a written request for a six-person jury trial within ten (10) days of your initial appearance and post the jury fee.