MISSOURI MUNICIPAL DIVISION COURTS
Municipal division courts are authorized by the Missouri Constitution and are part of the Circuit Courts. They are open to the public of all ages. The purpose of these Courts is to provide you with a place to obtain a fair and impartial trial on any alleged violation of a city ordinance.
Municipal division courts are courts of law established to protect the rights of all citizens. If there is anything you do not understand, do not hesitate to ask the Judge any questions.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:
- RIGHT TO TRIAL – If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for trial. Because of the number of cases the Court hears each month and the need to have the officer and any witnesses present, you case cannot be heard at your first court appearance. You will be given a future court date for trial.
- When your case is scheduled for trial, it will be in the same court in which you appear, UNLESS you request a jury trial. A request for jury trial should be made by written motion 10 days prior to the scheduled trial date. If timely filed, your case will be transferred to the County for a new trial date with a jury.
- At trial, you have a right to testify or remain silent. If you remain silent, it is not considered an admission of guilt. If you testify, the court may consider any statement you make in deciding your guilt or innocence.
- At trial, you have the right to ask questions of witnesses testifying against you.
- You have the right to ask the clerk to issue a subpoena to require witnesses to come to court and testify.
- If you are found not guilty, the case ends.
- If you are found guilty, you can accept the decision or you can appeal the decision to the Circuit Court. If you appeal, you will be granted a new trial before a different judge. The request for appeal must be made in writing within 10 days of the Court’s decision. You can appeal even if you are not able to pay. You can ask the clerk of information on this process.
RIGHT TO KNOW WHEN THE COURT IS OPEN
Every court has different hours when it is open. It is important you check the Court’s website or call the court clerk to determine when it is open. A list of websites and phone numbers for all municipal division courts in Missouri can be found at: http://www.courts.mo.gov/mcw/findacourt/muniDivisionList.html
RIGHT TO ATTEND COURT
Courts in Missouri are open to the public of all ages
RIGHT TO RELEASE PENDING HEARING
If you are in jail for a municipal charge, you have the right to be released unless the Court decides you need to be in jail for the protection of the community or because you may not appear for court. If the Court orders your release from jail, there may be conditions on your release, including bail.
RIGHT TO ACCESS COURT RECORDS
If you have a case in municipal division court, you have the right to see the court records for your case. This includes records that show charges, court rulings, fine and other information for your case.
RIGHT TO AN ATTORNEY
You have the right to be represented by an attorney and may hire one at any time. When you first appear in court, you can ask to postpone the hearing one time so you can hire an attorney. However, you are not required to have an attorney represent you. You can represent yourself.
RIGHT TO HAVE THE JUDGE DECIDE IF YOU CAN AFFORD A LAWYER OR PAY FINES AND COSTS
- If you want an attorney, but cannot afford one, you can ask that the judge decide if you qualify for a court-appointed attorney. You may be required to fill out paperwork about your finances as part of this process.
- You can request the judge to decide if you are able to pay court fines and costs or to be granted an alternative sentence. You may be required to fill out paperwork about your finances as part of this process.
- You may not be put in jail for failure to pay fines and costs unless the judge finds you have the ability to pay but are unwilling to pay or when alternative sanctions to jail are not sufficient.
RIGHT TO A COURT APPOINTED ATTORNEY
If you show you cannot afford an attorney AND the city is seeking to put you in jail, the court will provide an attorney to represent you.
RIGHT TO REQUEST A DIFFERENT JUDGE
You may request a change of judge for any reason within 10 days after you enter your initial plea. If it is past 10 days, then you must show cause why the judge should be changed.
- The case is ready to be heard by the Judge.
- Witnesses are given an oath to testify.
- The city’s witnesses explain their version of what happened.
- You or your attorney can ask questions of the City’s witnesses
- You may testify and call witnesses to explain your version of what happened
- The city prosecutor may question you or your witnesses if you and your witnesses testify.
- The judge makes the decision.
PUNISHMENT AND FINES
If you plead guilty or are found guilty, you may face the following punishments or fines:
- Minor traffic violations - up to $225 total fines and costs.
- Housing, zoning or building code violations – up to $200 total fine and costs for the first violation, $275 for the second violation in a year, $350 for the third violation in a year and $450 for the fourth and any subsequent violation in a year.
- All other municipal code violations – up to $500 in fine plus costs
- In addition to fines and costs, certain violations may result in jail time. Such violations include any violation for alcohol or drugs, violations endangering the health and welfare of others, or giving false information to a police officer. You may face up to 90 days in jail.
Court Clerk – Amy McKnight
Municipal Prosecutor - J. Randal Howell
Municipal Judge - Mark Rundel
Mailing Address and Contact Information:
Branson West Municipal Court
PO Box 2229
Branson West, MO 65737
Monday - Friday 8:30-5:00
(417) 272-1447 - Phone, Municipal Court
(417) 272-8152 - Fax