Your Rights in Court

PROCEDURE AND YOUR RIGHTS IN COURT

The Chesterfield and Clarkson Valley Municipal Divisions are part of the 21st Circuit Court of  St. Louis County and the State of Missouri. Like other state courts, it is governed by the Supreme Court of Missouri.  Cases in the Chesterfield Municipal Division and Clarkson Valley Division all result from alleged violations of the Ordinances of the City of Chesterfield or Clarkson Valley.  These divisions do not hear Misdemeanor or Felony cases.

Pursuant to Chesterfield City Ordinance number 87, the Court may impose a fine not to exceed $1,000 per charge and/or a sentence in jail not to exceed 90 days per charge.

You have the right to consult with an attorney and/or be represented by an attorney.  If you are indigent and cannot hire an attorney, the Court will appoint an attorney for you free of charge if;

     The Court finds you are indigent and cannot hire an attorney, and
     It appears to the Court there will be jail time if you plead guilty or if you are found guilty.

Before Court Begins

The City of Chesterfield uses walk thru metal detectors for most meeting and these are also used for Court sessions.  Please arrive in a timely manner in order to be processed thru the metal detector.

DRESS CODE POLICY:
Dress which distracts from or disrupts court proceedings is not allowed.  The Bailiff will ask those dressed inappropriately to leave the Courtroom.   Appropriate dress does not include halters, tank tops, bathing suit tops, or crop tops (no exposed midriff).   All shirts should be buttoned (no exposed chest). Pants should be worn as intended (no exposed undergarments).  Hats may not be worn in the Courtroom.

Court is open to the public provided those attending do not distract from or disrupt court proceedings.  Disruptive persons will be asked to leave, or will be removed from the Courtroom.  Children are allowed in the Courtroom.  If a child becomes disruptive, the Bailiff will ask the child and the child's supervisor ro leave the Courtroom.  If such person is a defendant, someone will retrieve the defendant when his or her case is called.  At that time the defendant and all children will be allowed to approach the bench.

As the Judge enters the Courtroom, the bailiff will ask you to rise. Remain standing until the Judge is seated. There is no drinking or eating allowed in the Courtroom. There is no smoking allowed in the building or on the campus.

During Court

As you enter the courtroom, there are "Your Rights in Court" forms available at the entrance to the room. Also available are change of address forms and Financial Statement Forms (if you are wanting to tell the judge that you are indigent and cannot afford to pay or obtain your own attorney, this form must be filled out).  If you have moved or intend to move, a change of address form should be filled out.  It is the responsibility of the defendant to keep the Court updated with a current address.

The judge will make opening remarks explaining procedures, options and choices available to defendants.  After the judge's explanation, cases will be called in alphabetical, reverse-alphabetical or sign-in order.  When a defendant's name is called, he or she should approach the bench (where the judge is seated) and be prepared to enter a plea or request a continuance.

If you request a continuance,
you should state the reason for the request;  for example, to consult with or hire an attorney, to consult with your foreign consulate, embassy or ambassador, to allow the Court to obtain a translator . . .

If you plead guilty, you may give an explanation if you choose.  You will be required to sign a plea form indicating you acknowledge:
     That you have been advised of the elements of the offense with which you are charged and the maximum sentence that may be imposed;
     That you are pleading guilty by choice and are not being forced or induced to plead guilty;
     That you have been advised of your right to a trial by judge or by judge and jury and that you waive those rights;
     That you have a right to have legal representation and that you waive that right;
     That, if you are a foreign national, you have a right to consult with your embassador or embassy, and that you waive that right.

The judge will consider the evidence, facts and circumstances and your explanation (if you give an explanation) and make a decision regarding your case.

If fine(s) and or court costs are assessed, the judge will ask if you can pay, or if you prefer to pay on a latter date, or by installments.

If you plead not guilty, you should not make any statements regarding the facts and circumstances of your case.   Any such statements may be offered at your trial.  The case will then be continued to a different date for trial by a judge or by a judge and jury if you so request.  At trial, the City will be represented by a trial attorney who is familiar with the law, rules of court, rules of procedures and rules of evidence.  You have a right to be represented by an attorney or to proceed without benefit of legal counsel.

     No continuace of the trial setting may be granted by the Court Administrators (Court Clerks).  You must appear as instructed.
     You may subpoena witnesses.   Blank subpoenas may be obtained through the Court office.  You are responsible for serving these subpoenas.
     You have a right to a trial by jury, however, unless you request a trial by jury, the trial will be heard by the judge without a jury.  If, after the conlusion of the judge tried trial, you with to appeal the Court's decision, you would be required to file a request for a Trial De Novo (New Trial) and pay a $35 transfer fee to have your case transferred to the St. Louis County Circuit Court in Clayton, MO.
     If you request a jury trial, the case must be certified (transferred) to the St. Louis County Circuit Court in Clayton, MO.   There is no initial cost required to certify the case for jury trial.  However, the trial judge may impose a fee at the conclusion of the jury trial.  Your request for a jury trial must be made no later than ten (10) working days before the trial date scheduled in the Chesterfield Municipal Court.

A defendant should not leave Court until the Judge or a member of the Court staff informs the defendant his or her business with the Court is finished for the Court date.

 

Violations Bureau Schedule - PDF