Court Procedures

Municipal Courts are the judicial branch of city government. In addition, the Municipal Court is part of the state judicial system. Municipal Courts hear Class C Misdemeanor criminal cases, including traffic violations, for which the maximum fine, upon conviction, does not exceed $500, and for which no jail sentence may be assessed. They also hear cases involving violation of city ordinances, which may have fines up to $2,000 for certain offenses.

When you receive a citation, the options you have to resolve your case can vary depending on many different factors including but not limited to: the type of violation, the severity of the violation, the age of the defendant, etc. The first thing you will need to do is enter a plea on or before your appearance date. Once you enter a plea, you may be scheduled for a court date, or you may have the option of disposing of the case without appearing in open court. If your situation allows you to resolve the matter without appearing in open court, you may pay the fine, provide proof for expired violations or insurance matters, or you may be eligible for an alternative sentencing option such as deferred disposition (deferred adjudication), or a driving safety course.

  1. Court Appearances

    If you were issued a citation, you have 20 working days from the date of the citation to contact the court. The law requires you to appear in Court on your case.


  2. Pleas

    Under our American system of justice all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of not guilty a formal trial is held.


  3. The Trial

    A trial in Municipal Court is a fair, impartial, and public trial as in any other court.


  4. Presenting the Case

    As in all criminal trials, the State will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. After prosecution witnesses have finished testifying, you have the right to cross-examine.


  5. Continuances

    If you need a continuance for your trial, you must put the request in writing and submit it to the Court with your reasons 7 days before a jury trial or 2 days before a bench trial.


  6. Judgment / Verdict

    If the case is tried by the Judge, the Judge's decision is called a Judgment. If the case is tried by a Jury, the Jury's decision is called a Verdict.


  7. Fines

    The amount of fine the Court assesses is determined only by the facts and circumstances of the case.


  8. Court Costs

    In addition to a fine, court costs mandated by state law will be charged. The costs are different depending on the offense.


  9. Appeal

    If you are found guilty and are not satisfied with the judgment of the Court, you may have the right to appeal your case.


  10. Driving Safety Courses

    If you are charged with a traffic offense, you may be eligible to take a driving safety course (DSC) to dismiss the charge.


  11. Juveniles

    The Municipal court has jurisdiction over juveniles, 16 years or younger, charged with Class "C" misdemeanor offenses except public intoxication.


  12. Role of the Judge

    The judge ensures that all persons before the court are treated fairly and equally.


  13. Role of the Clerks

    The clerks are the administrators of the court. They carry out the orders of the judge and the procedures and policies mandated by the state or other authority.


  14. Role of the Prosecutor

    The prosecutor is the attorney for the City and the State.