Guilty/Not Guilty Plea

City Government > Departments > Municipal Court > Guilty/Not Guilty Plea

When appearing in court you may plead Guilty, Not Guilty, or Guilty with Explanation, as described below and in the Plea Waiver Form.

A Plea of Guilty

In court, if you plead guilty, you are admitting to the Judge that you have committed act(s), which violate valid city law.

At this time, you will be given an opportunity to tell the Judge about any special circumstances, provide information that you believe lessens the seriousness of the violation, or circumstances you want the Judge to take into consideration before sentencing. You cannot plead guilty and then in your explanation to the Judge say you did not violate the law. The prosecutor also has the same opportunity to offer any explanation or information he believes is pertinent to the case and can make recommendations for punishment to be considered by the Judge before sentencing.

After listening to each side, the Judge will then proceed with sentencing. To decide what penalty will be assessed, the Judge will consider the seriousness of the offense, any explanation offered by you, information and recommendations provided by the prosecutor, and sentencing requirements specified by city ordinances or state laws.

A Plea of Not Guilty

When you plead not guilty, the Judge will set a court date, usually four to five weeks in the future, on a Thursday at 1:30 pm for the trial. This allows time for both sides to request witnesses to appear and prepare for the trial.

You are not required to be represented by an attorney. You may represent yourself at trial if you desire to do so.

If you have pleaded not guilty and later decide to change your plea to guilty, you must appear in court before the Judge to do so. If you need an earlier court date to appear before the Judge to withdraw your not guilty plea and enter a guilty plea and proceed with sentencing, please call the court prior to the desired court date (Thursday) to schedule your case. However, the case remains set for trial as scheduled in the event you fail to follow through with disposition on the earlier court date. A warrant can be issued for your failure to appear on the earlier court date scheduled for disposition.