General Procedures During Court
Court personnel will try to answer any questions you may have. You are asked to respect the nature of the proceedings, be attentive, and courteous to the court personnel and their requests. Please remove your hats and refrain from talking, drinking, or smoking while court is in session. Defendants seventeen years of age and younger must be accompanied in court by a parent or legal guardian.
The Municipal Court for the City of Wildwood (court) is authorized by the state constitution and created by the ordinances of the City of Wildwood. The court hears cases only for violations of the ordinances of the City of Wildwood. This court does not settle questions of civil money damages.
Any person charged with a violation is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. When reasonable doubt exists, the case will be decided in your favor. If you do not believe you are guilty of the offense charged, you should plead "not guilty."
You have the right to be represented by an attorney. If you are indigent and unable to hire an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney for you in any case where, upon conviction, there is a possibility of imprisonment being imposed. However, you may waive such right if you choose.
Range of Sentence Upon Conviction
You may be fined up to $1,000, or you may be imprisoned not to exceed three months, or both for violation of ordinances.
The first setting of your case is your initial arraignment. You have the right to obtain a continuance in order to obtain an attorney or to prepare your defense. If you want a continuance for such reason, you should request it prior to your court date or before court begins. Continuances may be granted to the city or to you upon request, for good cause, at the discretion of the judge.
Entering Your Plea
When your case is called, please come forward to the bench promptly. The charge against you will be read to you and you will then announce your plea of guilty or not guilty, or request a continuance.
If you plead guilty, the judge will impose a fine or imprisonment, or both, after duly considering the facts and circumstances concerning your case. Even if you plead guilty, you should feel free to explain to the court any unusual circumstances which you believe are in your favor. Any mitigating circumstances explained to the judge may or may not have an effect on the amount of the fine assessed. There is no appeal after a plea of guilty.
Not Guilty Pleas
If you plead not guilty, your case will be continued and set for non-jury trial in this court on the trial dates scheduled by the court.
Trials are conducted under the rules set forth in the Missouri Supreme Court Rules, Revised Statutes of Missouri and the rules of evidence. At trial, the case is called, the witnesses are sworn in, and the city's witnesses explain their version of what happened. You may cross examine (question) them if you wish.
You and your witnesses, if any, may testify in your behalf to explain your version of what happened. The city prosecutor may cross-examine you and your witnesses. After hearing all of the evidence, the judge renders the court's decision. The judge will base his decision only on the law and ordinance(s) involved and the facts, as determined by the testimony and other evidence presented.
You have the right to testify or remain silent. If you do not testify, it is not considered an admission of guilt. You have the right to have witnesses subpoenaed on your behalf. Requests for subpoenas must be made to the court administrator during business hours in a timely manner after you have entered a plea of not guilty. Again, the city prosecutor has the burden of proving the violation charged.
In the event you are found guilty, the judge will impose a fine or sentence. The punishment, whether fine or imprisonment, is affected by the facts and circumstances of each case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the punishment. Aggravating circumstances may increase the punishment. Failure to pay fines or appear on any date specified by the court will result in a warrant issued for your arrest and/or a new charge of failure to appear.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty of an offense, court costs will be added to any fine imposed. Court costs are required by state law and are remitted both to the Ccty and to the state. You should be prepared to pay any fines and costs imposed at the time the court renders its decision.
If you do not agree with the court's decision after trial, you may request a "trial de novo" (a completely new trial) in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County by completing the papers provided by the court clerk.
There is a cost deposit required for a trial de novo, which must be paid to the Clerk of St. Louis County Circuit Court. The court clerk will explain these proceedings to you should you request a trial de novo.
All request for trial by jury are certified to the Circuit Court of St. Louis County and the jury trials are held in the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, not in this court.
By Supreme Court Rule 37, you may demand trial by jury. All demands for trial by jury shall be made in writing at least 10 days prior to scheduled hearing date. A jury cost deposit must be made to the Circuit Clerk of St. Louis County to process your jury demand.