Gower Municipal Court
3rd Thursday, every other month at 7:00 pm
February 16, 2023
April 20, 2023
June 15, 2023
August 17, 2023
October 19, 2023
December 21, 2023
Clerk: Darla Pearcy
97 N 4th Street
P.O. Box 408
Gower, MO 64454
Gower Municipal Court
YOUR RIGHTS AND DUTIES
Gower Municipal Court
What is Municipal Court?
The Municipal Court of Gower is a division of the Circuit Court of Clinton County. Cases in the Municipal Court involve alleged violations of the City of Gower laws. If you have received a ticket for a municipal ordinance violation, you have certain rights and responsibilities. The purpose of this is to help you understand theses rights and responsibilities.
An arraignment is your first appearance in Municipal Court. When given a ticket, you are also given a court date and a time to appear in Municipal Court. When you appear at your arraignment, your name will be called. When your name is called, approach the bench. The judge will read the charge filed against you. If you do not understand the charges, ask the judge to explain it. When the judge asks you how your plead, you must say either guilty or not guilty. No contest pleas are not allowed in Missouri courts.
A Guilty Plea
If you plead guilty, you are admitting to the judge that you have committed acts which violate a valid city law. The judge will then decide what penalty will be assessed. At the time, you can tell the judge any special circumstances you believe lessen the seriousness of the violation. You cannot plead guilty and then in your explanation to the judges say that you did not violate the law.
After listening to your explanation, the judge will assess a penalty, considering the seriousness of the offense and any explanation offered by you. Remember, if you plead guilty, the judge will find you guilty. Any explanation offered by you can only affect the penalty. When you plead guilty you will be giving up the following rights: to hire an attorney to represent you: to have a trial before a court: to call witnesses to testify for you; to testify for yourself; to cross examine any witnesses that the city may call; and the right to appeal the judgement.
A Not Guilty Plea
A plea of not guilty means you believe you have not violated the law. When you plead not guilty, the judge will set a date for trial. You need not be represented by an attorney if you want to plead not guilty. You may represent yourself at the trial. If you plead not guilty and later decide to change your plea to guilty, you must reappear in court.
At the trial, the city prosecutor will first present evidence against you. Then you will have a chance to tell your side of the story. At the trial, the prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor will call witnesses to testify about the facts alleged in the charge. When each witness has finished answering the prosecutor's questions, you or your attorney may question the witness. This is called cross examination. Cross examination is not a time when you can testify or argue with the witnesses.
After all witnesses for the city have testified, you can present your case. You may testify and you may call your witnesses to testify; however, you do not have to testify. If you testify, you may also be questioned by the prosecutor. After you have presented your case, the prosecutor may present rebuttal evidence. Rebuttal evidence is evidence that explains or denies your evidence. After all witnessed have testified, each side may give a closing argument. The judge must then decide if you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, the judge will assess a punishment, considering the seriousness of the offense and any explanation offered by you during your evidence. If the judge finds you not guilty, you are free to go.
Appointment of Counsel
If the prosecuting attorney is requesting that you be sentenced to jail for the violation for which you are charged, or if it appears to the judge there is a reasonable likelihood you will be sentenced to jail, the judge will notify you before accepting a plea of guilty or not guilty . If jail is a possible punishment and you are financially eligible, the court will appoint an attorney for you. You do not have a constitutional right to have an attorney appointed if jail is not likely a punishment.
Right to Appeal Trial De Novo
If the judge finds you guilty during the trial, you may appeal the decision. When you appeal, you are asking for a new trial. The new trial is call a Trial De Novo. Your application for Trial De Novo must be filed within 10 days of the first trial. Payment of the fine or failure to file within 10 days forfeits your right to appeal. A filing fee and application of Trial De Novo must be filed with the clerk before transferring the case to the Circuit Court. If you wish to appeal, you must tell the judge or a municipal court clerk. Forms are available for an appeal at the court office.