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Trials in Union Grove Municipal Court

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Initial Appearance
This may be your first visit to this Court, and it is our desire that you be fully advised of your rights and the Court’s procedures. Today is the initial appearance session of the Court, and it is primarily for the purpose of taking your plea to the alleged violation of the law.

  1. When your name is called, come forward promptly to a position in front of the bench, facing the Judge.
  2. The Court will inform you of the exact charge against you, the range of possible penalties including points that may be imposed in traffic cases, and will request that you enter a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest.
  3. If this is your scheduled initial appearance, you have the right to request a CONTINUANCE, which if granted, can be used to consult with your attorney.

Entering A Plea

  1. If you enter a plea of Guilty you are admitting that you committed the offense, and if the arrest report contains the necessary elements, you will be found guilty, and a penalty will be imposed.
  2. If you enter a plea of No Contest you are not pleading Guilty or Not Guilty: you merely want to have the matter resolved and pay the penalty. The effect of this plea is that you will be found guilty, but you will not be admitting your civil liability for use in other court proceedings that may arise where personal injury or property damage is involved.
  3. If you are convicted you will be given an opportunity, if you wish, to make a statement before the Court examines your conviction record and sets the penalties.
  4. Should you need time to pay the penalty, if you cannot pay it in full today, the Court may grant you a reasonable time to pay. If you fail to pay, the Court will set an alternative penalty of Writ of Commitment to Jail, or suspension of your driving privileges for up to 2 years.
  5. If you enter a plea of Not Guilty, you deny committing the offense, and the matter will be adjourned to a later court date for a Pre-Trial Conference or a Trial.

Pre-Trial Conferences
If you plead Not Guilty you may request that a Pre-trial be conducted (at a later court date) so that you can discuss a possible settlement with the Village Prosecutor. You are not required to have a Pre-trial, but if you request one, your personal appearance is mandatory. The Judge does not participate in the Pre-trial hearings, nor does she have to accept any negotiated or amended charge.

Failure to Appear
If you fail to appear at your scheduled Pre-trial, or the Court Trial, the Court will either issue a warrant for your immediate arrest or enter a Default Judgment against you.

Jury Trial
Only if you have been charged with the offense of Operating a Motor Vehicle While Under the Influence of an Intoxicant are you entitled to a Jury Trial on a plea of Not Guilty. You must: file a written request to this Court for a 6 person Jury Trial within ten days of your initial appearance and post $6.00 for each juror. Failure to comply with the above will result in a trial in this Court (no jury).

Probationary Licenses
If you hold a probationary license, the points will be doubled on your second and/or subsequent convictions.

All Trials, except non-traffic juvenile cases, are public trials. You have the right to retain your own attorney and subpoena witnesses. You may also represent yourself. You are presumed innocent and will be convicted only if evidence is clear, convicting, and satisfactory that you committed the violation with which you have been charged. All witnesses must testify under oath. The Prosecution will produce its own witnesses to testify to the facts and circumstances surrounding your alleged violation. You or your lawyer will be permitted to cross-examine each witness that testifies. When the prosecution has completed its case, you and your witnesses will be given the opportunity to testify, and you will be subject to cross-examination by the prosecutor. The Rules of Civil Procedure and Evidence will be followed. After all the evidence has been presented, the prosecution and the defense will be given an opportunity to summarize, by brief argument, their respective cases to the Court. Thereafter, the Court will decide, based upon the evidence and the law, whether to find you Guilty or Not Guilty. If the Court finds you Not Guilty, you will be discharged and the Complaint against you will be dismissed. If you are found Guilty, the extent of the penalty is dependent upon the circumstances surrounding the violation and the person’s past record.