- Municipal Court
- Court Procedures
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.
In determining the defendant's guilt or innocence, the judge or jury may consider only the testimony of witnesses and any evidence admitted during the trial.
If you are found guilty by either the judge or jury, the penalty will be announced at that time. Unless you plan to appeal your case, you should be prepared to pay the fine at this time.
In addition to a fine, court costs mandated by state law will be charged. The costs are different depending on the offense. You need to check with the court for the amount that will be assessed to the violation for which you are charged. If you request a trial, you may have to also pay the costs of overtime paid to a peace officer spent testifying in the trial. If you request a jury trial, an additional $3 jury fee is assessed. If a warrant was served or processed by a peace officer, an additional $50 fee is also assessed.
The amount of fine the court assesses is determined only by the facts and circumstances of the case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine, even if you are guilty. On the other hand, aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. The maximum fine for most municipal court traffic violations is $200; for municipal court penal violations-$500; for certain city ordinance violations-$2,000; and for other city ordinance violations-$500.
If you need a continuance for your trial, you must put the request in writing and submit it to the court with your reasons prior to trial. The judge will make a decision whether or not to grant the continuance. You may request a continuance for the following reasons:
A religious holy day where the tenets of your religious organization prohibit members from participating in secular activities such as court proceedings (you must file an Affidavit with the court Stating this information);
That you feel it is necessary for justice in your case.
If you are found guilty and are not satisfied with the judgment of the court, you have the right to appeal your case. To appeal, unless you are in a court of record, you must file an appeal bond with the municipal court within 10 days of the judgment if you appeared in open court.
If you pled guilty or nolo contendere, waived your right to a jury trial and requested the amount of fine and appeal bond, put the request in writing and mailed or delivered it to the court before your initial court appearance date, you have up to 31 days from the time you received a certified notice from the court to pay the fine or file an appeal bond with the municipal court. Defendants in courts of record should check with the court for rules regarding appeals.