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Court Procedures

YOUR RIGHTS IN MUNICPAL COURT

WHAT IS MUNICIPAL COURT?

The Municipal Court for the City of Osage Beach is a division of the 26th Circuit Court of Missouri. Cases in the Municipal Court involve alleged violations of ordinances in the City of Osage Beach. If you have received a citation for a municipal ordinance violation, you have certain rights and responsiblilties. The purpose of this brochure is to help you understand these rights and responsibilities.

 

THE DOCKET

The docket is the court calendar. This court date and time are reserved specifically for you to appear in Osage Beach Municipal Court to answer to the charge(s) filed. If you do not know if you are on the docket, ask the Bailiff. If it is, have a seat in the courtroom.

 

The Bailiff will call Court to order and advise you the rules of conduct you will be expected to follow while in the courtroom. When the Judge calls the names on the docket, it would be helpful to clearly state “Here” or “Present” and raise your hand when your name is called so the Judge knows who is in Court that day.

 

APPOINTMENT OF COUNSEL

If the Prosecuting Attorney is requesting that you be sentenced to jail for the violation for which you are charged, or it appears to the Judge that there is a reasonable likelihood that you will be sentenced to jail, the Judge will notify you before accepting a plea of guilty or not guilty. If jail is a possible punishment and you are not able to hire an attorney, the Court will appoint an attorney for your. You do not have a constitutional right to have an attorney appointed if jail is not a likely punishment.

THE ARRAIGNMENT

An arraignment is your first appearance in Municipal Court. When you are given a citation, you are also given a court date and time to appear in Municpal Court. When you appear at your arraingment, your name will be called. When your name is called, approach the bench. The Judge will read the charge(s) that have been filed against you. If you do not undertand the charge(s), ask the Judge to explain it. The Judge will then ask how you plead to the charge(s).

THE PLEA

The only pleas allowed in Missouri are “Guilty” or “Not Guilty”. The plea of “No Contest” or “Nolo Contendre” is not recognized in this state.

A GUILTY PLEA

If you plead guilty, you are admitting to the Judge that you have committed the act(s) that you were charged with and that you have no defense for your act(s). The Judge may ask you questions. The Judge will then assess a fine, court costs and/or what sentence you must serve. Before you plead guilty, you have the right to ask the Judge if you will go to jail.

A GUILTY PLEA WITH AN EXPLANATION

This plea has the same effect as a plea of guilty, but says that you would like to explain to the Judge mitigating circumstances with respect to the punishment. After your explanation, the Judge will assess a fine, court costs and/or what sentence you must serve after taking into consideration the seriousness of the offense and any explanation by you.

You cannot plead guilty and then in your explanation to the Judge say that you did not violate the law. Any explanation that you offer will only affect the penalty.

 

When you plead guilty, you will be giving up the following rights: To hire an attorney to represent you; to have a trial before a court; to call witnesses to testify for you; to testify for yourself; to cross-examine any witness that the City may call; and the right to a new trial in front of a different Judge.

 

A NOT GUILTY PLEA

If: 1) You did not do what you are accused of doing. 2) You are not sure what you are accused of is a violation of the law. 3) You are asking for more time to retain counsel, find witness(es) of your own or otherwise be more prepared,plead not guilty. The Judge will set a new court date.

 

THE TRIAL

If you do not have a lawyer and you think you need the help of one, you should contact one BEFORE going to court. You may also choose to proceed without a lawyer and represent yourself. You have the right to bring witness(es) to the trial. If you need the court to help you bring witnesses, the court can issue them subpoenas, but ONLY after you provide the court the names and addresses of these people.

At the trial, the City Prosecutor will first present evidence against you. You may confront and question the witness(es) for the City. Then you will have a chance to tell your side of the story. The Prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a resonable doubt. The Prosecutor will call witness(es) to testify about the facts alleged in the charge(s). When each witness has finished answering the Prosecutor’s questions, you or your attorney will have the right to question the witness. This is called cross-examination.

Cross-examination is not a time when you can testify or argue with the witness.

After all the witnesses for the City have testified, you will have an opportunity to present your case. You may testify and you may call witnesses to testify; however, you are not required to testify. If you do testify, you may also be questioned by the Prosecutor.

After you have presented your case, the Prosecutor has the right to present rebuttal evidence. Rebuttal evidence is evidence that explains or denies your evidence.

After all witnesses have testified, each side may give a closing argument.

The Judge must then decide if you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, the Judge will assess a punishment, considering the seriousness of the offense(s) and any explanation offered by you during your evidence. If the Judge finds you not guilty, you are free to go.

 

RIGHT OF APPEAL-TRIAL DE NOVO

If the Judge finds you guilty, you have the right to ask for a new trial. This is a retrial of the case before a different Judge. The new trial is called a Trial De Novo. Your application for Trial De Novo must be filed within 10 (ten) calendar days of the first trial. Payment of the fine or failure to file the application for Trial De Novo within 10 (ten) calendar days forfeits your right to appeal.

A filing fee and application of Trial De Novo must be filed with the Municipal Court Clerk before transferring the case to the Circuit Court. This payment must be in the form of cash or money order only.

If you want a Trial De novo, you must tell the Judge or the Municipal Court Clerk. Forms are available at the Municipal Court Clerks’ office.

PAYMENT OF FINES AND COURT COSTS

If you are found guilty and you cannot pay your fines and court costs at that time, you may ask the Judge to put you on a payment plan. The Judge will ask questions to determine a pay plan that is reasonable to both the Court and you. If you are put on a pay plan, you are entering into an agreement to make payments on a set schedule or to have the fine and court cost paid in full by a set date. If you are on a payment plan with the Court and cannot make a payment or need the plan adjusted, you will need to appear in front of the Judge to ask for that adjustment. Call the Court Clerk’s office to request your need to speak to the Judge about your pay plan and the Court Clerk will give you a date and time to appear.

What to Bring to Court 
Bring the following with you to court:

·         Proper identification (driver's license, passport)

·         Your copy of the citation or court documents received from the court 

·         Any receipts regarding your case (i.e., bond receipts, cash bail receipts, etc.)

·         Any documents which prove compliance with the judge's orders and/or sentencing

·         The City accepts all forms of payments; however, credit/debit cards will be subject to a service charge collected by the City's credit card processing vendor

·         Do not use nicknames or an alias. Use the same spelling as listed on documents related to the case and ensure spelling on the documents is correct. If they are not, please advise the court

·         Provide the court with your current address

·         Appropriate dress is required. No obscene slogans on clothing, hats.  Shirt and shoes are required

CELL PHONES are to be turned OFF at all times during court

 

Failure to Appear...
If you fail to appear in court as ordered, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest and you can be jailed and/or fined.   This applies to summons to appear through charges and subpoenas as well. 


City of Osage Beach • 1000 City Parkway • Osage Beach, MO 65065• 573-302-2000•
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