Explanation of Pleas & Sentencing

Appearing in Court

Court is held on various Thursdays, starting at 3:00 PM with adjournments, followed by motion hearings, status conferences and indingency hearings.  Trials typically begin at 4:00 PM unless otherwise stated.  Juvenile cases are closed hearings and will be done one at a time. If appearing in court, you will need to check in as you enter the courtroom.

If your citation is marked as Must Appear, you are required to appear in person on the indicated court date to enter your plea, unless a not guilty plea has been entered in writing prior to your court date. If your citation does not indicate you must appear, you have the following options:

  • If you do not wish to contest the matter, you may pay your forfeiture. Please enclose a copy of your citation. The court will enter a plea of no contest with a finding of guilty - no appearance is necessary.
  • You may enter a not guilty plea prior to your court date. If a not guilty plea is entered, the matter will be scheduled for a pretrial conference with the City Prosecutor.
  • You may enter your plea in court on the court date indicated on your citation. Juveniles 16 years of age and under with a non-traffic offense must be accompanied by a parent and will be seen by the Judge in closed chambers.

Plea Options

There are three options in which to plea:

  • Guilty - Admitting guilt to the violation
  • No Contest - A statement indicating you do not wish to contest the charge; the Judge must find you guilty upon a no contest plea, but the plea cannot be used as evidence against you in a civil suit for damages
  • Not Guilty - Indicates you would like to contest the citation

If you enter a plea of guilty or no contest before the Judge, you will then have the opportunity to discuss your case with the Judge. The Judge will then impose the appropriate sentence and forfeiture. At this time, you may also request an extension for time to pay.  If you enter a plea of not guilty, the matter will be scheduled for a pretrial conference with the City Prosecutor. If time allows, you may be seen by the City Prosecutor during that same court session.

Online Plea Form
If you intend to enter a plea of Not Guilty, and would prefer to do that electronically, you can click here to fill out the electronic form and have your Not Guilty plea sent to the Court Clerk electronically. 

Changing a Plea

You may change your plea to guilty or no contest by contacting the court clerk or prosecuting attorney at least 48 hours in advance of your trial date.

Default Judgment

Failure to appear in court, pay your forfeiture, or enter a not guilty plea prior to your initial court date will result in a default judgment entered against you with a plea of no contest, a finding of guilty, and penalties imposed.