What to Expect When You Arrive for Court

Initial Appearance Procedure

Good morning. For some of you, this may be your first appearance in court. It is my responsibility that you be fully informed of your rights and court procedures. You should have signed in when you entered. If you did not, please let the Clerk know so we can get you on the list. You will be called in the order that you signed in. Please turn off your cell phones now.

This proceeding today is commonly called an initial appearance. If you are here because you received a citation, when your name is called, please come forward and be seated at the table to the right of the Village attorney.

I will verify your name and correct mailing address and inform you of the exact charge against you and the range of penalties that may be imposed. If this is a traffic citation you will also be informed of any demerit points that will be assessed against your driving privilege.

You will be asked to enter a plea. If you enter a plea of GUILTY, you are admitting that you committed the offence. You will be found guilty and a penalty will be imposed.

If you enter a plea of NO CONTEST, you are admitting that you believe there is sufficient evidence to find you guilty of the offence, and you choose not to contest it. Again, you will be found guilty and a penalty will be imposed. The only difference between a guilty and a no contest plea is that a guilty plea could be used against you in a different civil action, perhaps stemming from an accident. After you enter your GUILTY or NO CONTEST PLEA, I will give you an opportunity to be heard.

If this is your initial scheduled appearance date, you have the right to request a CONTINUANCE. This time can be used to consult with an attorney. If you did receive a ticket as the result of an accident you would be best served by asking the court for a continuance and seeking the advice of an attorney.  

If you enter a plea of NOT GUILTY, I will set the matter for trial and schedule a pre-trial conference. Very often these cases in a pre-trial conference can be resolved with a stipulation agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, you will receive a notice of trial and will be expected to appear on that date, prepared for trial.

If you have been ordered to pay a forfeiture and court costs as a result of your court appearance, the payment must be received within 60 days. If you need more time to pay you must notify the Municipal Court Clerk before the 60 days are up and arrangements can be made for time to pay. If the forfeiture and costs are not paid on, or before the date ordered, or any court granted extension of that date, you will be ordered to return to court to show cause as to why the payment has not been made. Failure to appear at this hearing or failure to show good cause will result in an alternate penalty or combination of penalties being imposed. Under such circumstances the Court can:

  1. Suspend your license to operate a motor vehicle for 1 year. (NOTE: the suspension will NOT relieve you of your obligation to pay the forfeiture and costs.)

  2. Impose a jail term of up to 90 days until the amount due the Court is satisfied.

  3. Intercept a tax refund of up to the amount due the Court.
  4. Assign up to 25 percent of your wages until the amount due the Court is satisfied. 
  5. Turn the debt over for collection.  
With that, I will ask the clerk to call the first case.