Your Rights in Court
Defendants appearing in court have the right to be represented by an attorney of their own choosing. Before entering a plea, defendants have the right to consult an attorney for advice.
Presumption of Innocence
Defendants are presumed innocent. The prosecuting attorney has the burden to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If a defendant pleads not guilty at their first court appearance (referred to as an arraignment), their case is set for trial before the court at a future date.
At the trial, a defendant has the right to confront the witnesses against them and cross-examine them. A defendant has the right to remain silent and also the right to testify in their own defense, as well as present evidence in defense of the charges.
The court will render a verdict when the evidence has concluded. If a defendant is found not guilty of the offense, they are dismissed. If found guilty and conviction entered, a defendant has the right to file a trial de novo or appeal but the appeal must be filed within 10 days of the finding of guilt. Once the appeal is filed, the case is then transferred to the circuit court of Jefferson County and assigned to a judge within that circuit.
If a defendant chooses to plead guilty, they have waived or given up their right to have a lawyer represent them and their rights to a trial. The court may sentence a defendant within the range of punishment allowed by the City of Byrnes Mill ordinances. That range of punishment for most offenses is a maximum of 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $500.00.
Court costs are also assessed for each violation and total $24.50. Neither the judge nor the clerk is allowed to give legal advice. Prior to arraignment, a defendant desiring legal advice should consult with an attorney.
Trial By Jury
A defendant also has the right to a trial by jury but must make that known at initial arraignment. A cost deposit may be required. The case is then transferred to the circuit court of Jefferson County and assigned to a trial division equipped to handle juries.
Important Information to Know:
- You have been summoned to come to court on the date shown on your ticket.
- You may plead not guilty by coming to court and a trial date will be set.
- You may plead guilty by coming to the Byrnes Mill Municipal Court to pay your fine.
- If you plead guilty, you will be given a new date to pay if you can't pay the day of court.
- If you want to plead guilty, but you don't have the funds to pay your ticket, you still must come to court. You will not be arrested for not having money to pay.
- If you are indigent, you may be required to complete documentation to be determined by the court as evidence of your financial status and as an aid to the court in assessing fines, costs and setting of a payment plan.
- If you do not come to court when summoned to do so, you are subject to a warrant being issued for your arrest.