Initial Appearance

Appearing in Court

In addition to your rights, you have some legal responsibilities.

The law requires you to make an appearance in your case. Your appearance date is noted on your citation, bond, summons or release papers. You or your attorney may appear in person in open court, by mail or you may deliver your plea in person to the court. Find more information on pleas.

Juveniles have a separate set of rules for their appearance. Please visit the Juveniles section.

Your Plea

Your first appearance is to determine your plea. 

Guilty or No Contest

If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest, you must also waive your right to a jury trial. You may request the amount of fine and appeal bond in writing and mail or deliver it to the court before your appearance date. You then have up to 31 days from the time you received a notice from the court to pay the fine or file an appeal bond with the municipal court.

If you waive a jury trial and plead guilty or nolo contendere (no contest), you may present extenuating circumstances for the judge to consider when determining the proper punishment. 

However, the judge is not required to reduce your fine. 

Not Guilty

If you plead not guilty, the court will schedule a jury trial. You may waive a jury trial and request a bench trial. 

Appearing by Mail

When you make your appearance by mail, your plea must be postmarked by your scheduled appearance date. If you plead not guilty, the court will notify you of the date of your trial.