Rossville Municipal Court Procedures
Your appearance in the Rossville Municipal Court may be the first experience you have had in any Court. Hopefully this information will help you understand the Court proceedings and to inform you of your rights and duties. The Court’s goal is that every person leave this Court feeling that he or she has been treated fairly.
APPEARANCE IN COURT
When you appear in Court you will be required to obey the following rules:
1. Appropriate clothing and shoes will be worn.
2. The wearing of hats or caps is not allowed.
3. Food and drinks are not allowed in the Courtroom.
4. While the court is in session, talking is not allowed, except with authorized Court personnel.
5. There will be NO SMOKING in the courtroom.
6. Cell phones must be turned off.
BEFORE COURT BEGINS
You must decide upon and enter a plea to the charges against you. If you signed a citation when the officer presented you the ticket, you did not plead guilty. You only signed a promise to appear in Court on your appearance date. There are three possible pleas to a complaint:
2. “NOT GUILTY”
3. “NO CONTEST”
YOUR DECISION ON WHAT PLEA TO ENTER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU WILL HAVE TO MAKE. WE SUGGEST THAT YOU READ THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATIONS OF ALL THREE PLEAS BEFORE ENTERING YOUR PLEA.
Plea of Guilty
By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged, that the act is prohibited by law, and that you have no defense for your act.
Before entering your plea of guilty, you need to understand the following:
1. The City has the burden of proving its case against you. You have the right to hear the City’s evidence and to require it to prove its case, when you go to trial. The law does not require you to prove anything.
2. If you were involved in a traffic accident at the time of the alleged offense, your plea of guilty could be used later in a civil suit for damages as an admission by you that you were at fault or were the party responsible for the accident.
Plea of No Contest
A plea of NO CONTEST, simply means that you do not wish to contest the City’s charge against you, but wish to talk to the Judge about mitigating circumstances. Judgment will be entered by the Judge and some penalty will be set. A plea of no contest cannot be used against you in a civil suit for damages.
Plea of Not Guilty
A plea of not guilty means that you are informing the Court that you deny the charges against you.
If you plead not guilty, you will need to decide whether to employ an attorney to represent you at trial. You may defend yourself, but no one else except an attorney may represent you. However, if you are a minor (under 18 year of age) one of your parents should be present.
If you defend yourself, please consult the following sections of this brochure regarding the trial procedure and the manner of presenting your case.
Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On a plea of “not guilty”, a trial is held and the City is required to prove all the allegations against you as contained in the formal complaint “beyond a reasonable doubt,” before a verdict of guilty can be reached.
You DO NOT have the right to have your case tried before a jury in Municipal Court.
Under Kansas law, you can be brought to trial only after a complaint or traffic citation has been filed. The complaint or citation is a document which alleges what you are supposed to have done, and that your actions were unlawful.
You have a right to inspect this complaint before the trial, and have it read to you at the time of the trial.
You are entitled to hear all testimony introduced against you.
You have a right to testify in your own behalf. You also have a constitutional right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot and will not be used against you in determining your guilt or innocence. However, if you do choose to testify, the prosecutor will have the right to cross examine you.
You may call witnesses to testify in your own behalf. You also have the right to have the court issue subpoenas for witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial. However, you must furnish the names, addresses and telephone numbers of these witnesses to the Court, at least 10 working days before your trial date, so that the witnesses may be located and subpoenas served. The Court will only serve subpoenas within the City, any service outside of the City will be your responsibility.
PRESENTING THE CASE
As in all trials, the city will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you.
After each prosecution witness has finished his/her testimony you will have the right to cross-examine him/her. Your examination must be in the form of questions and you must not argue with the witness. Do not attempt to tell your side of the story at this time. You will have an opportunity to do so later in the trial.
After the prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witness who knows anything about the incident, and to introduce exhibits such as photographs and diagrams.
The verdict of the Judge will be based on the testimony which sounds most reasonable and on the facts presented during the trial. In making his determination he/she can only consider the testimony which sounds most reasonable and on the facts presented during the trial.
If you are found guilty by the Judge, he will announce the penalty at the time. You should be prepared to pay the fine at this time. However, you may be granted an extension of (10) days to appeal the ruling of the Judge.