Your Rights at Trial

Overview


At the trial, you are not required to prove your innocence because you are presumed to be innocent. It is up to the City Prosecuting Attorney to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you are guilty. At the trial, you will have all of the rights of any defendant in any criminal trial in the State of Missouri. Among those rights are:

  • The right to be present while the witnesses against you are testifying
  • The right to ask those witnesses questions, or to have your lawyer ask them questions
  • You will have the right to have witnesses testify for your case and if your witness does not appear, you have the right to subpoena that witness. If a witness has not shown up and you desire that he testify, you must ask to continue your case so that you may subpoena a witness before the trial starts
  • You, yourself, will have the right to testify in the case if you want to. If you do not want to testify, you have the right not to testify. If you do not testify, the Court will not draw any inference from your failure to testify
  • If you are convicted, you may appeal your conviction to another Court before another Judge. If you wish to appeal, the Court will set an appeal bond to cover the costs of appeal. You will have 10 days to complete your appeal papers and post the appeal bond

Right to Counsel


Every defendant has the right to be represented by a lawyer of his/her choice at his/her own expense. If you want an attorney, the Court will continue your case for a reasonable time for you to hire an attorney.

The Court may appoint you a lawyer if 1) you are indigent and cannot afford an attorney, 2) the City Prosecuting Attorney is requesting jail time if you are convicted, or 3) if there is a practical possibility of a jail sentence. Otherwise, the Court has no authority to appoint a lawyer and there is not reason to request the appointment of an attorney.

If you choose to represent yourself, the Court will hold you to the same standards as any attorney who appears in Court.

Defendant Attorneys


Unless you received a ticket for an ordinance violation listed on the Schedule of Fines, your plea will require an actual appearance in Court. If you are requesting to have the charges of your case amended, you will be required to have a defense attorney.

Defense attorneys will be required to provide an Entry of Appearance. The City Prosecuting Attorney will be available one hour prior to court to discuss any pending cases with defense attorneys. Guilty pleas, with defense attorneys, will be taken before the Judge as preliminary matters prior to the calling of the remaining Court Docket. The order will be determined by the arrival of the defense attorneys. Upon completion of the discussions with the defense attorneys, the City Prosecuting Attorney will then be available to discuss any pending cases with individual defendants.