Know Your Rights in Municipal Court

Right to know when the court is open: City of Fulton Municipal is open 8 a.m to 5 p.m.  Monday through Friday. Court is held in the Callaway County Courthouse located at 10 East 5th Street in Fulton, Missouri.

Right to attend court: Municipal courts in Missouri are open to the public.

Right to access court records: If you have a case in municipal court, you have the right to see the court records for your case. This includes records that show charges, court rulings, fines, 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 may represent yourself.

Right to have a judge decide if you can afford a lawyer or pay fines: 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 paper work about your finances as a part of this process. You can also request the judge to decide if you are able to pay court fines or to be granted an alternative sentence. You may be required to fill out paper work regarding your finances as a part of this process.

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 ten (10) days after you enter your initial plea. If it is past the ten (10) days, then you must show cause why the judge should be changed.

Right to Trial: If you plead not guilty, your case will be scheduled for trial. 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 judge 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 a right to require witnesses to come to trial and testify with a subpoena. If you are found not guilty, the case ends.

If you are found guilty, you can accept the decision or appeal to the circuit court. If you appeal your case, you will be granted a new trial before a different judge. The request for appeal must be made within ten (10) days of the court’s decision and cannot be extended for any reason. You can appeal even if you are not able to pay.

Trial Process: 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 and your witnesses, if you and your witnesses testify. The judge makes the decision.

Punishments 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 fine and costs. Housing, zoning or building code violations—up to $200 total fine and costs for the first violation in a year, $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. You may be able to pay your fines by mail, online, or in person instead of appearing in court.

If you need ADA accommodations: You have rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For example, if you or a witness are deaf or hearing impaired, you have the right to request assistance, including an interpreter. Please call the court clerk to set this up before your court date.