Your Rights

Your Rights in the Courtroom

  • Please be advised the fine amount set forth for the Violations Bureau Schedule may not apply in court.
  • You have a right to plead guilty, guilty with an explanation and not guilty.
  • You are presumed to be innocent unless and until the city's prosecution proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • If, after the charge is read and you understand it, you feel you have violated the law, you may enter a plea of guilty. If you wish to explain the circumstances surrounding the charge to the judge, you may ask the Municipal Judge to consider your explanation.
  • If you believe you have not violated the law or have a defense to the alleged violation, you should plead not guilty. If in doubt, plead not guilty.

Your Right to an Attorney

  • You have the right to be represented by an attorney. You may employ one to represent you before pleading to any charge, to defend you against charges and to protect your rights in any court procedure before or after the trial.
  • At the first setting of your case, you have the right to obtain a continuance in order to obtain a lawyer or to prepare your defense. If you desire a continuance, you should request it after your case is called and before entering your plea. 
  • If you are indigent and unable to hire an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney for you if you can show that you can not afford one in a case where a conviction would possibly lead to jail time. However, you may waive such right if you choose. You must appear on your scheduled court date to present your request to the Municipal Judge. The Judge will advise if your case and circumstances fit the criteria for appointment of an attorney.

Click here to learn more about what happens after you plea.