St. Louis City Municipal Courts

  • 1520 Market Street
  • St. Louis, MO
  • 63103
  • (314) 622-3231

Your Rights in The Municipal Division

Your presence in the Court today is perhaps your first experience in any court. This information has been prepared to help you understand the court proceedings and to inform you of your rights and duties.

  • The Municipal Division of the Twenty-Second Judicial Circuit is the Judicial Branch of the city government , and is a part of the state judicial system.

  • Ordinance violations for which the maximum fine, upon conviction, does not exceed $500.00 and/or 90 days in jail, are tried in the Municipal Division.

  • Trials are conducted under the rules set forth in the Missouri Revised Statutes Rules of Evidence.

Before Court Begins

As the Judge enters the courtroom, please rise. Afterwards, please be seated. There is no talking, drinking, or smoking during court. When your name is called, come forward and wait to be called before the Judge. The violations that you are alleged to have committed will be read and at that time you should be prepared to plead either guilty or not guilty.

If you are signed a citation in front of an officer, you did not plead guilty, but only signed a promise to dispose of the charges of which you were accused through appearance or pre-payment of fine and cost.

Your decision on what plea to enter is the most important decision you will have to make. We suggest that you read the following explanations before entering your plea. If you decide that you would like to seek the services of an attorney, please inform the Judge and you will be given time to do so.

Plea Of Guilty

By plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged, that the act is prohibited by law, and that you have no defense for your act. Before entering a plea of guilty, you need to understand the following:

  • The City has the burden of proving its case against you. You have the right to hear the City's evidence and to require it to prove its case. The law does not require you to prove anything.

  • If you were involved in a traffic accident at the time of the alleged offense, your plea of guilty could be used later in a civil suit for damages as an admission by you that you were at fault or were the party responsible for the accident.

You are URGED not to plead guilty, if you do not feel that you are guilty.

Plea Of Not Guilty

A plea of not guilty means that you deny guilt and that the City must prove its charge against you. Your case will be set for trial, and you will be given a date to appear. You will receive no other notice with regard to your trial date.

If you plead not guilty, you will need to decide whether to employ an attorney to represent you at the trial. You may defend yourself, but no one else except an attorney may represent you.

At the time of the trial, the City will be required to prove all the allegations as contained in the formal complaint against you "beyond a reasonable doubt", before a verdict of guilty can be reached.

The Trial

Under Missouri law, you can be brought to trial only after a formal complaint has been filed. The complaint is the document, which alleges what you are supposed to have done, and that your action was unlawful.

  • You have the right to inspect the complaint before the trial, and have it read to you at trial.

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