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Your Rights

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Your Rights in Municipal Court

  • You have the right to post bond.
  • You have the right to a trial. In this trial the city will bring witnesses to testify against you and you will have the opportunity to cross-examine those witnesses. The city must prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the court finds you “not guilty,” you will be discharged. If the court finds you “guilty,” you have the right to appeal the decision. Said appeal must be filed within 14 days of the date of the decision.
  • You have the right to call witnesses to testify in your behalf. You may testify in your own defense or you may remain silent.
  • You have the right to have an attorney defend you or you may defend yourself. In some instances, you may be eligible for court appointed counsel.
  • You must answer the charge against you by entering a plea. You may plead “not guilty”, “no contest”, or “guilty”.
    • A “not guilty” plea means you do not believe you have violated the
    • Ordinance with which you have been charged. Your case will then be set for hearing at a later date.
    • A “no contest” plea means you do not contest the charges against you. The court is then required to adjudge you “guilty”.
    • A “guilty” plea means you admit you did what you are accused of doing.
  • If you are convicted or plead guilty, you may later petition to have your record expunged.
Speak With The Prosecutor

In addition to the exercise of the aforesaid rights and plea options, you may, if you wish, speak to the Prosecutor regarding any consideration which may be deemed appropriate.

At the first appearance stage of the proceedings, the Prosecutor has authority to amend, divert, or dismiss a charge pending before the court. If you would like to speak to the Prosecutor directly, and are charged with a misdemeanor offense, you will be provided a waiver of counsel form for your review and consideration.

In addition to any jail, fine, or other sanctions which may result from a municipal court conviction, there may be additional consequences as well. Said convictions may impact civil litigation related to the case or immigration status if you are not a United States Citizen. Additionally, convictions may have administrative impacts, notably, in the context of driver’s license status in association with convictions for traffic related offenses.

Your Right to Appeal

Anyone found guilty in Municipal Court has a right to appeal the conviction to the Butler County District Court. You must file your “Notice of Appeal” in the Butler County District Court within 14 days of the date of your conviction in the Municipal Court.

The District Court may require an appeal bond to be set at the time the “Notice of Appeal” is filed.