Under our American system of justice, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a trial, the defendant has entered a plea of not guilty and the burden of proof is on the city. Jury trials are not held in Municipal Court. A judge hears all testimony, reaches a verdict and imposes the sentence.
- In all court cases, you have a right to an attorney. If you do not choose to be represented by an attorney, you may act as your own attorney. This is called appearing pro se.
At the trial, the prosecutor will begin by calling witnesses to testify against you. After each prosecution witness testifies, you have a right to cross-examine each witness.
- Your cross-examination must be in the form of questions; you are not allowed to argue with a witness. This is not the time for you to tell your side of the story. That opportunity comes later in the trial.
After the prosecution has presented its case, you have the right to call witnesses to testify on your behalf.
- You have the right to have the court issue subpoenas for witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial.
- You have the right to testify, and you have a constitutional right not to testify. Choosing not to testify will not be used against you in determining guilt or innocence; however, if you do testify, the prosecutor will have the right to cross-examine you.