Right to Trial
If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for trial. Because of the number of cases the court hears each month and the need to have the officer and any witnesses present, your case cannot be heard that night. You will be given a future court date for trial.
When your case is scheduled for trial, it will be in the same court in which you appear, UNLESS you request a jury trial. A request for a jury trial should be made by written motion 10 days prior to the scheduled trial date. If the motion is timely, your case will be sent to the presiding judge of the circuit court for a new trial date with a jury.
- At trial, you have a right 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 or innocence.
- At trial, you have the right to ask questions of witnesses testifying against you.
- You have the right to ask the clerk to issue a subpoena to require witnesses to come to trial and testify.
- If you are found not guilty, the case ends.
- If you are found guilty, you can accept the decision or appeal to the circuit court. If you appeal your case, you will be granted a new trial before a different judge. The request for appeal must be made in writing within 10 (ten) days of the court’s decision and cannot be extended for any reason. You can appeal even if you are not able to pay. Complete details of the appeal procedure can be found at . The clerk is also able to provide you information on the process.
Right to know when the court is open
Every court has different hours it is open. It is important that you check the court’s website or call the court’s clerk to determine when it is open. A comprehensive listing of contact information for all municipal division courts in Missouri can be found at http://www.courts.mo.gov/mcw/findacourt/muniDivisionList.htm.
Right to attend court
Courts in Missouri are open to the public of all ages.
Right to release pending hearing
If you are in jail for a municipal charge, you have the right to be released unless the court decides you need to be in jail for the protection of the community or because you may not appear for court. If the court orders your release from jail, there may be conditions on your release, including bail.
Right to access court records
If you have a case in a municipal division court, you have the right to see the court records for your case. This includes records that show charges, court rulings, fines, and other information for your case.
Right to an attorney
You have the right to be represented by an attorney and may hire one at any time. When you first appear in court, you can ask to postpone the hearing one time so you can hire an attorney. However, you are not required to have an attorney represent you. You may represent yourself.
Right to have a judge decide if you can afford a lawyer or pay fines
If you want an attorney, but cannot afford one, you can ask that the judge decide if you qualify for a court-appointed attorney. You may be required to fill out paper work about your finances as a part of this process.
You can also request the judge to decide if you are able to pay court fines or to be granted an alternative sentence. You may be required to fill out paper work regarding your finances as a part of this process.
You may not be put in jail for failure to pay fines or costs unless the judge finds you have the ability to pay but are unwilling to pay or when alternative sanctions to jail are not sufficient.
Right to a court-appointed attorney
If you show you cannot afford an attorney and the city is seeking to put you in jail, the court will provide an attorney to represent you.
Right to request a different judge
You may request a change of judge for any reason within ten (10) days after you enter your initial plea. If it is past the ten (10) days, then you must show cause why the judge should be changed.
In addition, a judge may decide he or she cannot hear the case if they have a conflict of interest in the case or the judge will appear as the prosecuting attorney in a neighboring county where the prosecuting attorney will serve as judge.