What happens when I appear in municipal court?
It is very important to arrive in court on the day and time stated on your tcket, summons, subpoena or court notice. Roll call is taken before the session starts. Ifyour name is not called, or you arrive late, notify court personnel immediately.
At the beginning of court session, the Judge will give an opening statement explaining court procedures, defendants’ rights, and penalties. As each case is called, the Judge will individually advise each defendant of his/her rights. A case may be postponed to permit the defendant to hire a lawyer.
If the defendant wishes to proceed without a lawyer, the judge will ask for his/her plea. If the defendant pleads “guilty,” the Judge will ask questions regarding the charged offense to determine any factual basis for the guilty plea. If defendant pleads “not guilty,” and all involved parties are present and prepared, the case proceeds to trial.
Once the Judge has heard the testimony, he/she will decide if defendant is guilty, not guilty, or if the case must be dismissed. If defendant pleads guilty or is found guilty after a trial, the Judge will impose a sentence.