Appearing Before the Court

Your appearance in Municipal Court may be your first experience in any court. The following information has been prepared to help you understand the court proceedings and to inform you of your rights and obligations. Every person should leave this court feeling that he or she has had a fair and impartial opportunity to be heard.

The Municipal Court is the judicial branch of the county government, and is a division of the state judicial system. You are afforded essentially the same rights in Municipal Court that exist in the Courts of the State of Missouri. Some of those rights are set forth below. If you find that you do not understand your rights, you should consult an attorney prior to making decisions about the proceeding against you.

Punishments
The Municipal Court hears violations of county ordinances. The range of punishment can vary depending upon the offense charged, but can never be more than a fine of $1,000 and/or a year in the county jail on any 1 offense.

Attire
Proper attire is required for a court appearance. Sleeveless shirts, shorts and/or hats are not suitable for court. Due to space limitations, only those who have business with the court should attend.

Children
Children are allowed in court, however parents are required to ensure that they do not disrupt court proceedings. Disruptive or noisy children and their parents will be asked to leave.

Food & Beverage
No food or beverages of any kind are allowed in the courtroom.

Violations of Policies
Anyone violating Court rules or the directions of Court personnel may be asked to leave.

Court Procedures & Manners
As the Judge enters the courtroom, please rise. Afterwards, please be seated. When your name is called, come forward and wait to be summoned before the Judge. The violations that you are alleged to have committed will be read and at that time you should be prepared to enter a plea as follows:
  • Not Guilty
  • Guilty
  • Guilty with an Explanation
If this is your first appearance in court, you may also request a continuance to retain an attorney.

Your decision on what plea to enter is a very important decision and crucial to the disposition of the case. We suggest that you read the following explanations before entering your plea.

Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday:  8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (With the exception of court dates)
  • Wednesday court date office hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Doors reopen at 5:30 p.m. for court.
  • Thursday court date office hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Court is normally held on the first and third Wednesdays of the month at 6 p.m. and the second and fourth Thursdays of the month at 9 a.m. 
  1. Court Costs, Fines & Jails

    Look up how much everything will cost you.

  2. Plea of Guilty

    By pleading guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged, that the act is prohibited by law, and that you believe that you do not have a defense for your act.

  3. Plea of Guilty with an Explanation

    This plea has the same effect as a plea of guilty, but allows you to to explain to the Judge the circumstances surrounding the offense with respect to the punishment only.

  4. Plea of Not Guilty

    A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt and that the county prosecutor must prove its charges against you.

  5. Trials

    See information about trials.