Court/Trial Process

Before Court Begins
You must decide upon and enter a plea to the charge against you. If you signed a citation in front of an officer, you did not plead guilty, but only signed a promise to appear in court on your appearance date. There are three possible pleas to a complaint. Your decision on what plea to enter is the most important decision you will have to make. We suggest that you read the explanations of all three pleas before entering your plea.


By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged, that law prohibits the act, and that you have no defense for your act. Before entering your plea of guilty, you need to understand the following:

  • The City has the burden of proving its case against you. 
  • You have the right to hear the City's evidence and to require it to prove its case. If it does not, the law does not require you to anything.
  • If you were involved in a traffic accident at the time of the alleged offense, your plea of guilty could be used later in a civil suit for damages as an admission by you that you were at fault or were the party responsible for the accident.

A plea of no contest simply means that you do not wish to contest the City's charge against you. The Judge will enter judgement and a fine amount will be set. A plea of no contest cannot be used against you in a civil suit for damages.


A plea of not guilty means that you are informing the Court that you deny guilt and that the City must prove its charges against you.

If you plead not guilty, you will need to decide whether to employ an attorney to represent you at trial. You may defend yourself, but no else except an attorney may represent you. However, if you are a minor (under the age of 18) one of your parents should be present.

Under our American system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On a plea of not guilty, a trial is held and the City is required to prove all the allegations against you as contained in the formal complaint "beyond a reasonable doubt", before a verdict of "guilty" can be reached.


The Trial

Under Kansas law, you can be brought to trial only after a complaint or traffic citation has been filed. The complaint or citation is a document which alleges what you are supposed to have done, and that your actions were unlawful. 

You have the right to inspect this complaint before trial, and have it read to you at trial. You do not have the right to have your case tried before a jury in Municipal Court. You are entitled to hear all testimony introduced against you. You have a right to testify on your own behalf. You also have a constitutional right not to testify. If you choose not to testify, your refusal cannot and will not be used against you in determining your guilt or innocence. However, if you do choose to testify, the Prosecutor will have the right to cross-examine you.

You may call witnesses to testify on your own behalf. You also have the right to have the Court issue subpoenas for witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial. However, you must furnish the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of witnesses to the Court at least 10 working days before your trial date, so that the witnesses may be located and the subpoenas served. The Court will only serve subpoenas within the city limits of Fairway; services outside the Fairway city limits will be your responsibility.

Process of the Trial:
Presenting the Case - 
As in all trials, the City will present its case first by calling witnesses to testify against you. After each prosecution witness has finished his/her testimony, you will have the right to cross-examine him/her. Your examination must be in the form of questions, and you must not argue with the witness. Do not attempt to tell your side of the story at this time. You will have an opportunity to do so later in the trial.

 After the Prosecution has presented its case, you may present your case. You have the right to call any witness who knows anything about the incident, and to introduce exhibits, such as photographs and diagrams.

The Verdict - The verdict of the Judge will be based on the testimony which sounds most reasonable and on the facts presented during the trial. In making that determination the Judge can only consider the testimony of the witnesses who are under oath.

If you are found guilty by the Judge he/she may announce the penalty at that time, or may continue the case for a sentencing hearing. You should be prepared to pay the fine at the time of sentencing. However, you may be granted an extension of ten (10) business days to appeal the ruling of the Judge.

The Fines -
 The amount of the fine(s) assessed by the court is affected by the facts and circumstances of the case. Mitigating circumstances may lower the fine, even if you are guilty. However, aggravating circumstances may increase the fine. Generally speaking, a fine will not exceed $500 for most traffic violations, or $1500 for city ordinance violations involving DUI. Some other City ordinance violations can carry higher fines.

Your Right to Appeal: If you are not satisfied with the judgement of the court, you have the right to appeal your case to the Johnson County District Court. If you do appeal the Judge's verdict, you must file a written notice of appeal with the clerk of the Municipal Court, and post an appeal appearance bond in the amount set by the Judge. The appeal must be filed within ten (10) business days from the date of the judgement. Your appeal will be set for a new trial before a different Judge, and/or jury in the District Court.