Court Procedures

If you are thinking about representing yourself on a Goddard Municipal Court Case, you may benefit from becoming familiar with the court system. Many resources are available online, in public libraries and/or bookstores.

Dress Code & Rules of the Courtroom


  • Appropriate clothing and shoes will be worn.
  • Wearing hats or caps is not allowed in the courtroom.
  • No food or drink is allowed.
  • No Smoking in the courtroom.
  • Cell phones must be turned off or on silent. If you need to make a call, please go outside to place your call / have your conversation.

Right to an Attorney


In all Municipal Court cases you have the right to an attorney. If you do not have the means to hire one, the Court may appoint an attorney to represent you. Court Appointed Attorneys are granted only in cases where jail time is possible. If you would like to request a Court Appointed Attorney, please ask the Judge on your court date.

Arraignment


At your arraignment you will come before the judge and be informed of the charges against you. You will also be informed of the possible punishment associated with the charges against you.

Pleading to a Charge


The following information should not be in any way construed as legal advice, but should be regarded as simple guidance. Any specific questions should be directed to the legal representative of your choosing.

You must decide upon, and enter a plea to the charge against you. The three possible pleas are; no contest, guilty, not guilty. We suggest that you read the following explanations before entering your plea.

No Contest


A no contest plea simply means that you do not wish to contest the City's charge against you and allows the judge to find you guilty. A plea of no contest cannot be used against you as an admission of guilt in a civil suit for damages.

Guilty


By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged. Before entering your plea of guilty, you need to understand the following:
  • You have the right to hear the City's evidence and to require the City to prove its case. The law does not require you to prove anything.
  • Your plea of guilty could be used later in a civil suit for damages as an admission by you that you were at fault. 
  • A plea of not guilty means you deny guilt and the city must prove its charges against you. If you plead not guilty, you will need to decide whether to employ on attorney to represent you at trial. You may defend yourself. 
  • If you are a minor (under 18 years of age) one of your parents should be present.

Trial


If you decide to defend yourself, please read the following regarding trial procedure and the manner of presenting your case. Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On a plea of not guilty, a trial is held and the city is required to prove all allegations against you as contained in the formal complaint beyond a reasonable doubt before a verdict of guilty can be reached.

Goddard Municipal Court trials are all bench trials, meaning the trial is before the Judge only, no jury trials. You are entitled to hear any and all evidence introduced against you. You have the right to testify on your own behalf, as well as a constitutional right not to testify. If you choose to testify, the prosecutor will have the right to cross-examine you.

You may call witnesses to testify on your behalf. You also have the right to have the court issue subpoenas for witnesses to make certain their appearance at trial. You must furnish the court the names, addresses and telephone numbers of witnesses to the court as soon as possible and at least 15 business days before your trial date.

Presenting the Case


The city will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. After each prosecutor's witness has finished, you will have the right to cross-examine him. Your examinations must be in the form of questions and you must not argue with the witness.

After the prosecution is done presenting their case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witnesses who know anything about the incident, and to introduce exhibits such as photographs and diagrams.

The Verdict


The verdict of the judge will be based on the facts presented during trial. In making his determination he/she can only consider what testimony and evidence was provided during the trial, under oath. If you are found guilty by the judge, he/she will proceed towards sentencing.

Sentencing


The sentence assessed by the court is affected by the facts and circumstances of the case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine. However, aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. If you have circumstances for the judge to consider, you may present them after conviction and before sentencing. A jail sentence may also be a part of sentencing. If jail is a possibility, you will be informed during you initial court appearance.

Right to Appeal


If you are not satisfied with the judgment of the court, you have the right to appeal your case to the Sedgwick County District Court. The case will be tried again before a District Court Judge and, upon request, before a jury.

Immediately upon conviction, you should advise the Municipal Court Judge of your intent to appeal. An appeal bond will be noted on your paperwork. You must file the appeal within ten days of the Municipal Court conviction. Saturdays and Sundays are included unless the 10th day falls on Saturday, Sunday, or a Holiday.

Take the copy you were given in Municipal Court to the Court Clerk's Office. There is a filing fee which must be paid to the District Court and a $10 appeal fee will be added to your Municipal Court case. If the case is dismissed in District Court, you will not be required to pay the Municipal Court fine and costs, or the $10 appeal fee.

If you intend to appeal, do not pay the fines and costs assessed. You will be giving 10 days to appeal. If you decide not to appeal your case, you must pay the fine and costs within the 10 days or make payment arrangements.

Time to Pay


If you are unable to pay your fines/costs at time of sentencing, you may be granted time to pay by the judge. You will be given a new court date. You must pay your fines/costs in full by that court date or appear in court to explain to the judge why it has not been paid in full. If you do not have your fines/costs paid in full and do not appear at your court date a warrant may be issued and/or your driver's license may be suspended with no future notice.