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Initial Arraignment
Initial Arraignment is your first appearance in court after receiving a citation. This is the setting where you will be advised of your rights and given the options that are available to you. If you decide to plead not guilty, you will also be given a chance to speak with the prosecutor. Keep in mind the prosecutor represents the City of Webster, and will not act as your attorney.

If you wish to enter a plea of guilty or no contest and you do not fall into any of the categories listed below, you will most likely be able to handle your ticket in the court office before your court date.

You are only required to appear at arraignment for the following reasons:

  • You wish to enter a plea of Not Guilty
  • You are a juvenile (under 17 years of age)
  • You are a minor (under 21) charged with an alcohol related offense
  • You are a minor (under 18) charged with a tobacco related offense

All individuals who enter a plea of not guilty and request a jury trial will be required to attend a pre-trial hearing. The pre-trial hearing is the deadline for you to file any motions concerning your case. At the pre-trial hearing, you will meet with the prosecutor and he will explain disposition options.

Please note, you do not have to explain your side to the prosecutor if you do not want to, as you have the right to remain silent. If you do choose to speak to the prosecutor, anything that you say may be used against you. In addition, you do not have to accept a plea bargain if one is offered, as you still have a right to a trial.

Failure to appear at the pre-trial conference may result in a failure to appear charge being filed against you and warrants for your arrest being issued.

Bench (Judge) Trial
A bench trial is a trial that is held in front of the Judge only.

You have the following rights in court:

  • The right to have a notice of the complaint not later than the day before any proceedings
  • The right to inspect the complaint before trial, and have it read to you at trial
  • The right to hear all testimony introduced against you
  • The right to cross-examine witnesses who testify against you
  • The right to testify in your behalf
  • The right not to testify, if you so desire. If you choose not to testify, your refusal to do so may not be held against you in determining your innocence or guilt
  • You may call witnesses to testify in your behalf at trial, and have the court issue a subpoena (a court order) to any witness to ensure his or her appearance at trial. The request for a subpoena must be in writing, directed to the Clerk of the Court at least three weeks prior to your trial date, and you must give the name, current address, and telephone number of each witness that you want subpoenaed.

Failure to appear at your trial may result in a failure to appear charge being filed against you and warrants for your arrest being issued.

Jury Trial
If you choose to have the case tried before a jury, you have the same rights described in the bench trial section as well as the right to question jurors about their qualifications to hear your case. If you think that a juror will not be fair, impartial or unbiased, you may ask the judge for a challenge for cause to excuse the juror. The judge will decide whether to grant your request. In each jury trial, you are also permitted to strike three members of the jury panel for any reason you choose, except an illegal reason (such as based solely upon a person’s race or gender). This is referred to as a peremptory strike and each side has three peremptory strikes. Most jurors are selected from the first twelve members of the jury panel, as a municipal court jury is composed of six jurors.

Failure to appear at your trial may result in a failure to appear charge being filed against you and warrants for your arrest being issued.

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