Court Trial Process
Overview of Rights
Under Kansas Law you can be brought to trial only after a complaint or citation had been filed. The complaint or citation is a document that alleges what you are supposed to have done, and that your actions were unlawful. You have a right to inspect this complaint before trial, and have read to you at trial. You do not have the right to have your case tried before a jury in the Municipal Court. You are entitled to hear all testimony introduced against you. You have the right to testify on your own behalf. You also have a constitutional right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot and will not be used against you in determining guilt or innocence. However, if you do choose to testify, the prosecutor will have the right to cross-examine you. You may call witnesses to testify on your own behalf. You also have the right to have the Court issue subpoenas for witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial. However, you must furnish the names, addresses, and telephone numbers, of these witnesses to the Court at least ten working days before your trial date so that the witnesses may be located and the subpoenas served. The court will only serve subpoenas within the City of Baldwin; any service outside the city will be your responsibility.
Presenting the Case
As in all trials, the city will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. After the prosecution witnesses have finished his/her testimony, you will have the right to cross-examine him/her. Your examination must be in the form of questions and you must not argue with the witness. Do not attempt to tell your side of the story at this time. You will have the opportunity to do so later in the trial. After the prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witness who knows anything about the incident, and to introduce exhibits such as photographs and diagrams.
The verdict of the Judge will be based upon the testimony that sounds most reasonable and the facts presented during the trial. In making determination they can only consider the testimony of the witnesses who are under oath. If the Judge finds you guilty, they will announce the penalty at that time. You should be prepared to pay the fine at this time. However, you may be granted an extension to appeal the ruling of the judge.
Right to Appeal
If you are not satisfied with the judgment of the Court you have the right to appeal your case to the Douglas County District Court. If you do appeal the Judge’s judgment you must file a written notice of appeal with the Clerk of the District Court, deliver a copy to the city’s Attorney’s office, and post an appeal appearance bond in the amount set by the Judge. You will also have to pay a filing fee with the District Court. The appeal must be filed within ten days from the date of judgment. After filing your appeal you will be assigned a new court date to appear in District Court for new arraignment date. After arraignment another date will then be scheduled for a completely new trial before a different Judge or jury in the District Court.
The amount of fine assessed by the Court is affected by facts and circumstances of the case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine, even if you are guilty. However, aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. The fine will not exceed $500 for most traffic violations; and up to $1,500 for Ordinance violations involving driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The Baldwin City Municipal Court has no jurisdiction over damages caused by auto accidents. Settlement of damages is a matter for civil court to decide, and in order to recover for any damages you will have to file a separate civil suit in another court. Municipal Courts hear only criminal misdemeanor cases involving violation of City Ordinances.