Procedures & Pleas
A court appearance must be made in person. Appointments can be made with the cashiers at the Municipal Court Main Station or either of its Substations. Please visit the Hours tab to see the hours of operation for your preferred location.
If you contest the charges listed on your offense and wish to plead guilty, you need to do so in front of the judge. A court clerk cannot accept a plea of not guilty from you.
If you are under the age of 18 please attend your Court session with at least one of your parents or guardians.
Please arrive at the Court at least 15 minutes before the time your session is scheduled to start. Shortly before the session, the bailiff will open the doors to the Courtroom and call those waiting in. As soon as you enter the courtroom sit down on the benches. The judge will enter the bailiff will call for everybody in the Courtroom to stand after you are told to be seated the session will begin.
The bailiff will call the names of the defendants and as your name is called stand at the wooden gate and the bailiff will permit you to pass when the judge is ready to see you. When the judge asks, tell him your plea and answer the judge's questions.
He will judge your case and you will be instructed to exit the courtroom and sit on the benches in the City Plaza foyer. You will be called by a clerk once they have received your file from Court.
There are two ways Arraignments are held. First, an arraignment can be held in a traditional courtroom where you will be lead in to the Courtroom from the City Jail, these are normally held in the morning every day. Second, you may have the option to have an arraignment by closed circuit video teleconferencing. If this option is available, you may be able to be arraigned during the business day.
You have three options of pleas when you appear in front of the judge: Guilty, Not Guilty, and Nolo Contendere (No Contest). The judge will determine if they will grant deferred adjudication to your case, sometimes known as probation, and work out a method of payment. The methods of payment are Instanter, payment is due immediately after leaving the courtroom, an Installment Plan, the judge will grant you a specific period of time to make regular payments for your offense, and Community Service, a pre-determined amount of hours of work at a governmental or not-for-profit entity which when complete will act as payment of your fine.
In pleading guilty, you are admitting you committed the offense you are being charged with.
In pleading not guilty, you are refuting the charges brought against you. When pleading not guilty, you will be given an appointment with the City Prosecutor who will discuss your case with you. During your discussion with the prosecutor, you can ask for them to recommend the State drops its charges against you or a plea bargain which will reduce the severity of the charge against you.
In pleading nolo contendere (no contest), you are not refuting the charges against you, however, you are not admitting to the charges either. The term "nolo contendere" is Latin meaning "I do not contest it."