What happens during a trial?
There are no jury trials in the municipal court. On the trial date, the judge will take testimony from all witnesses under oath. The defendant and his or her lawyer, if represented, will sit at one table. The prosecutor will sit at the other table. Witnesses may be asked to stay outside the courtroom until it is their turn to testify. The prosecutor will go first and will present any witnesses or evidence needed to prove the charge against the defendant. Each witness will either swear or affirm to tell the truth. As each witness for the prosecution testifies, the defendant or his or her lawyer, if represented, will have an opportunity to ask questions about the testimony. This is called cross-examination.

Once the prosecution is finished, it will be the defendant's turn. The defendant may present witnesses or other evidence to disprove the prosecutor's case. The defendant does not have to provide any information and does not have to testify. It is up to the prosecution to prove the case "beyond a reasonable doubt."

When all the witnesses have testified, the defendant or his or her lawyer may tell the judge why the case was not proven against the defendant.

The judge, after hearing all the testimony and witnesses, will make the decision whether the case has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge finds the defendant "not guilty," the case is over.

If the judge finds the defendant "guilty," the judge will sentence the defendant.

Show All Answers

1. What is the Municipal Court?
2. What type of cases are heard in Municipal Court?
3. When is a court appearance required?
4. How do I enter a Not Guilty Plea?
5. What happens on your day in court?
6. In what order are cases called?
7. What are "indictable charges"?
8. What happens at an "arraignment" or "first appearance"?
9. Who are the people involved in court?
10. Who is entitled to a public defender?
11. What is a Plea Agreement?
12. What happens during a trial?
13. What are the possible penalties?
14. What is mediation?
15. What is a Conditional Discharge?
16. How can I appeal my case?