La Junta Municipal Court
Your Rights in Municipal Court
- 1. You have the right to hire and attorney to represent you.
- 2. You are entitled to a reasonable continuance (or reschedule) in order to hire an attorney to assist you.
- 3. You have the right to require witnesses to attend court on your behalf. The court will issue the appropriate subpoenas or subpoena duces tecum at no charge, to require a witness to appear in court.
- 4. You have the right to testify on your behalf.
- 5. You have the right to refuse to testify. This cannot be used against you.
The first appearance in court is known as an "arraignment". At this time the officers and witnesses do not appear. Your options are the following:
- 1. You may pay your ticket.
- 2. You may ask the court for a Trial to the Court at which the judge will make all of the determinations. If you ask for a trial, it will be set for a later date. Both afternoon and evening times are available.
- 3. In certain cases you may ask the judge for a trial to a jury, which will convene at a later date. This must be confirmed in writing and may require a deposit toward the costs.
- 4. You may request to meet with the City Attorney in order to work out a "plea bargain". For traffic tickets the court clerk already has the information about what "plea bargain" is available.
If you elect to pay your ticket, you may do so by seeing the clerk, signing a plea of guilty and paying the fine. If this is done by the original court date, court costs will not be added.
Alternative Two & Three
If you choose a Trial to the Court or Trial to a Jury, it is the judge's (or jury's) job to determine your innocence or guilt from the evidence. The judge will schedule your trial date two to three weeks in advance so that you will have time to subpoena witnesses. At your trial all witnesses must be present because the trial will be the final court proceeding for your case.
If you elect to proceed with a trial to a jury, you may do so only if you pay a $25.00 jury fee to the court clerk within 25 days after your first appearance in court. You must also file a written jury demand. If you fail to make the payment or to request a jury trial within the 25 days, you will have forfeited this right.
If you are charged in a traffic case, the judge or court clerk, can tell you what settlement, or "plea bargain," if any, the city attorney is willing to make. You can complete the paperwork while you are in court.
If you are charged in a non-traffic case and you choose to meet with the city attorney, the clerk will arrange an appointment at a later date for a pretrial conference. If you pick this alternative, the city attorney will discuss the prospect of various plea arrangements at the conference. Most of those will include a payment of some sort of fines and/or costs, so you must be prepared to pay at that time. Typically, the city attorney will discuss matters with you; he does not determine guilt or innocence.
It is important to note that a "plea bargain" is not a constitutional right; therefore, there is a possibility that you may not receive one.
If you are a minor (or under 18 years old) and you select the alternative of a pretrial conference, your parents need to attend the conference with you.
If you and the city attorney arrive at an agreement concerning a disposition of your case, that will be your final appearance in court for this case.