- Right to Change Plea
- You still have the opportunity to change your mind about going to trial. You may withdraw your plea of not guilty and enter a plea of guilty or no contest to the charges against you. Or you may enter a plea of guilty with an explanation. If the court finds your explanation to be reasonable, it will consider imposing a reduced penalty for the charged offense.
- If you were involved in an accident and cited then you may wish to enter a no-contest plea because it will have no effect on any civil lawsuit or claim brought against you for injuries or property damage.
- When making your decision, you should be aware that if the court finds you guilty after a trial, the sentence that it will impose will be based on the evidence presented at trial, and in some cases may be higher or lower than the bail amount that may have been indicated on a courtesy notice you received. Additionally, if the evidence at trial proves excessive speed or dangerous driving, the court may order a suspension of your driver’s license.
- We will immediately process your cases before the rest of the calendar.
- Trial Procedure
- When your case is called, the defendant, the officer, and any witnesses to the case will be admitted to the virtual conference room. If you have any electronic evidence such as photographs or written documents that you want the court to consider, please ensure you are ready to share your screen at that time.
The prosecution has the burden of proof, which means that the officer will testify first and present evidence to establish each element of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt, including the identity of the person who committed the offense. Reasonable doubt doesn’t mean that there cannot be any doubt whatsoever, it just means that there cannot be any reasonable doubt.
- Right to Remain Silent
- You have the right not to testify in your case. This is your constitutional right to remain silent. Please remember, that if you choose not to testify in your case, it cannot be used against you in any way, as you have a constitutional right to remain silent and avoid incriminating yourself.
Once you hear the officer or the people’s witnesses testify in establishing a case against you, you may want to testify to your version of the facts and your defenses. If you choose to testify, you will waive, or give up, the right to remain silent and will be subject to cross-examination by me or the District Attorney’s representative on matters that you have brought up in your testimony, as well as other related matters.
- Right to Confront Witnesses
- You also have the right to confront or cross-examine the people’s witnesses who testify against you. After each of these witnesses testifies, the court will ask you whether you want to cross-examine the witness. Cross-examination means asking the witness questions about matters brought up in his or her testimony and other matters concerning the case. It does not mean introducing your own testimony at that time. The court will warn you if it hears you testifying at that stage of the trial.
After you question the witnesses against you, it will then be your turn to present your side of the case. Please note that you are not required to question the officer or witness or witnesses against you.
- Conclusion of the Trial
- After all testimony and evidence have been presented, the case is normally submitted on the evidence. However, you may make a closing argument if you wish to do so, however, the court asks that you not repeat your entire case but instead state the highlights that you believe are most important.
Once both sides have been heard, the court will either announce my decision or take the case under submission. If the case is taken under submission, a written decision will be mailed to you at a later date. However, you do have the right to be present and have the decision announced in open court. If you wish to be present for the decision, please inform the court.
- If you are found not guilty or if your case is dismissed, you are free to leave. You can check on your case status here. The case will be updated within 24 hours to reflect the latest status.
- Right to Have Sentencing Delayed
- If the court finds you guilty, you have the right to have the sentencing delayed for a period of not less than six(6) hours but no more than five(5) days. If you want to come back to this court during that period and then have this court issue its sentence, please ask for this delay. If you do not request this delay, the court will assume that you want to be sentenced immediately.
- If you are found guilty, most likely a fine will be assessed. If you are given a fine, the court will give you a date by which you must either pay the fine in full here or request a payment plan through the clerk’s office. The case will be updated within 24 hours to reflect the latest status.
- If payment of the fine would pose a hardship for you or your family, you may request a fine reduction. If you would like to seek a fine reduction, you will need to file a request for an ability to pay determination at the clerk’s office. Your financial circumstances will be reviewed and a determination will be made as to whether your fines will be reduced.
- Additionally, you may request that your fine be converted to volunteer work (Pen C §1209.5) today. All of the volunteer work is done through the court’s referral service, which has a list of non-profit agencies to which you may be referred. Work is converted at the rate of 1 hour for every $22 fine.
- Right to Appeal
- If the court finds you guilty, you have the right to appeal its decision. You must file your appeal within 30 days from today. Please ask the clerk’s office about the procedure for filing an appeal. Any fine imposed must be paid pending any appeal. If you win the appeal, any fine you have paid will be refunded to you.