Ordinance/Traffic Citation Information

What should I do when I receive a citation?
Each citation (or ticket) tells you the nature of the violation charged against you.  It will also tell you whether a court appearance is required.  It will show you the date and time when you can appear in court, if you wish to contest the charge.  Some citations require you to appear in court even if you want to plead guilty or no contest; but the majority do not require an appearance in court if you are not disputing the charge.What

will happen if I do not appear on my court date?
If your appearance was required on your citation (or ticket), a default judgment will be entered against you and the judge may order a warrant for your arrest.  If your appearance was not required, a default judgment will be entered against you, and if the forfeiture has not been paid, the judge will order the payment of the forfeiture.  Depending on the nature of the charges, the judge may also order a driver's license suspension or revocation in addition to any forfeiture.  If the forfeiture is not paid, the judge may enter an order suspending your driver's license, suspending your vehicle registration, referring of the matter to a collection agency, intercepting of your tax refund, or issuing a warrant for your arrest.  The sanction(s) ordered by the judge for not paying a forfeiture depends upon the nature of the charges.

What are the different pleas I may enter?
You may plead Guilty, Not Guilty, or No Contest to the charge against you.  If you plead Guilty, you admit you committed the violation.  If you plead No Contest, you declare you are neither guilty or not guilty.  You merely want to get the matter over with and pay the forfeiture.  As a result of this plea, you will be found guilty; but this finding cannot be used against you as an admission of guilty if you appear in any other court action related to the charge against you.  If you plead Guilty or No Contest, the judge will find you guilty of the charge, set the forfeiture, and order any other appropriate sentence, and tell when you must pay the forfeiture or provide proof of compliance with the court order.  If you cannot pay the forfeiture immediately, you may ask the judge for more time to pay.  If you plead Not Guilty, you deny committing the violation charged against you.  You will meet with your opponent, the Village Attorney, to discuss the case.  If an agreement can be reached between you and the Village, the judge will review the agreement and decide whether to approve it.  If you cannot reach an agreement, you will be given a trial date on the case.

How do I enter a plea?
You may enter a plea by either mailing or faxing (655-4273) your plea to the Municipal Court at least one day prior to the court date, or by making a personal appearance in court on your scheduled court date.  A pre-printed Not Guilty form is available at the Village of Marshall Municipal Office.  If you decide to mail or fax your plea, please include your name, date of birth, citation number, type of violation, and court date.

What will happen after I plead Not Guilty?
The court will notify you of your new court date if you plead Not Guilty before your initial court date.  The next court date you receive is a deadline for a pretrial with the Village attorney.  If you do not contact the Village attorney by phone by the deadline, you will be found guilty as charged.  If you show up on your initial court date and plead Not Guilty, you will not have a pretrial with the Village attorney immediately.  At the pretrial, you or your attorney will meet with your opponent, the Village attorney.  The Village attorney does not represent you or the court.  The judge stays neutral and independent.  The pretrial is not a trial.  The judge will not hear any testimony that day.  You or your attorney will discuss your case with the Village attorney.  It is up to you or your attorney to decide what evidence or facts you want to share with the Village attorney concerning your case, in the hope of reaching a settlement.  If you reach an agreement, the Village attorney will submit it in writing to the judge.  The judge does not have to accept the agreement, but often does.  If you do not reach an agreement with the Village attorney, the case will be set for a trial.