Trial Process/Preparing for a Trial

If you decide to take your case to trial, an attorney will not be provided for you by the court. You may choose to hire an attorney or represent yourself. If you choose to represent yourself, please read the following information carefully.

Trial Processes

This is a formal hearing where the Prosecuting Attorney and the Defendant have the opportunity to present their evidence before the Municipal Judge. The City/Village has the burden of proving its case by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence. The City/Village presents its case first. This usually involves calling witnesses and introducing documentary evidence. Once a witness for the City/Village has testified, the Defendant has a right to cross-examine that witness. 

After the City/Village has introduced all the evidence that it wishes to present, the Defendant then has the opportunity to testify in his or her own behalf, call witnesses and introduce documentary evidence. The City/Village Attorney is entitled to cross-examine any witness called by the Defendant. 

After all the evidence has been heard by the Judge, each side is given an opportunity to make a closing argument. The Judge then applies the admissible evidence to the specific statute or city ordinance that the Defendant is charged with violating, and determines whether he or she is guilty or not guilty.

Preparing For A Trial

  • Are there witnesses you want to testify? - If so, you need to make sure they will be there on the day of trial. Any witness should have personal knowledge of the incident based on what they saw or heard. Do not bring in letters or statements from a witness. They maybe hearsay and more than likely will not be admitted as evidence. If you decide to subpoena a witness, you should pick up subpoena forms from the Municipal Court Clerk at least 2 weeks before your trial date to allow enough time for proper service.
  • Photos, maps and drawings - If you think such evidence will help the Judge understand your case, bring them to court.
  • Testimony by the Defendant - If you plan to testify, think about what you are going to say beforehand.
  • Police reports and witness statements - If you want to have copies of any statements you made, other witness statements, or the police reports, you can file a Motion of Discovery with the court within 30 days of initial appearance.


Sometimes, when going to trial and being found guilty you will have to pay more than the amount on the citation. First, the City/Village Attorney may request payment for such things as witness fees (to include mileage). The forfeiture amount on your citation is not the maximum amount in most cases. The Judge has the authority to impose a higher or lower forfeiture if he deems it appropriate. If you do subpoena witnesses, you will not be reimbursed for those expenses even if you are found not guilty.


If you are found guilty, you will be given information regarding your appeal rights. The appeal must be filed within twenty (20) days after the Judge's decision and will be heard in the Shawano County Circuit Court either before a jury or a Judge. You must file a written notice of appeal (court clerk has forms) and pay an appeal fee.

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.