Trials and Appeals

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Trial is when your plead “not guilty” and are ready to bring witnesses and evidence to contest the case against you. 

On your trial date the judge will expect you to

  • Have your evidence, including trial exhibits and witnesses with you.
  • Be represented by an attorney; OR be prepared to represent yourself in a legal capacity.

Request a trial online only if you will meet all of the above expectations.

Do not request a trial if you are unsure or merely need time to seek legal advice or gather money to pay your fine. Consider a continuance or the walk-in docket instead. 

Trial Process

  • The case is ready to be heard by the judge.
  • Each witness shall swear, affirm or declare an obligation to tell the truth.
  • The City’s witnesses explain their version of what happened.
  • You or your attorney can ask questions of the City’s witnesses.
  • You may call witnesses to explain your version of what happened. 
  • You may require witnesses to come to trial and testify with a subpoena.
  • The city prosecutor may question you and your witnesses, if you and your witnesses testify.
  • You may choose to testify or remain silent.
    • If you remain silent, it is not considered an admission of guilt.
    • If you testify, the judge may consider any statement you make in deciding your guilt of innocence.
  • The judge makes findings of guilty or not guilty.

Know your rights: Download the Guide to Municipal Court.  

Trial Outcomes

  • If you are found not guilty, the case ends.
  • If you are found guilty, you can accept the decision of the judge or appeal to the circuit court.

Appeals (trial de novo)

  • If you appeal your case, you will be granted a trial de novo (new trial) before a different judge.
  • The request for appeal must be made within 10 (ten) days of the court’s decision and cannot be extended for any reason.
  • Making payments on any fine the judge ordered may cancel your ability to appeal.
  • You can appeal even if you are not able to pay the filing fee and appeal bond if the judge finds that you are indigent.

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