Court Procedures

Please take the time to read the information below so that you are fully advised of your rights and of this Court’s procedures.  It will give you important insight about what is happening with your case.  You have the right to be represented by an attorney or you may proceed without one.  If you want an attorney, you must retain one at your expense.  In most cases, this Court will not provide an attorney.

What to do if you receive a citation for Howard Municipal Court:

I.  MANDATORY APPEARANCE



If your citation is marked as a Mandatory Court Appearance, you MUST appear in Court.  The "appearance not mandatory" instructions do not apply to you.

A.  In court, you will be asked to enter a plea.
1.  Plea of No Contest


No contest means you are not contesting the charge and the court must adjudge you guilty. If you are involved in the type of arrest where you may be sued civilly (for example, an accident) the fact that you plead no contest in this court may not be used against you in any other action or in any other court.

2.  Plea of Guilty
If you plead guilty, that is what is called an admission against interest which can, and may be used against you civilly. It is very important that you understand the difference. You may plead no contest to any charge in this court. A jury trial cannot be requested for any municipal / traffic charge except OWI or BAC.
 
3. Plea of Not Guilty
(Please see "If you wish to dispute the citation" section below for further information.)

If you plead not guilty to a charge of OWI / BAC, and want a jury trial, you must make a demand of this court in writing, within 10 days of this appearance and you must accompany your written demand with the jury fees of $36 for a 6 person jury trial or $72 for a twelve person jury trial. You must also include the amount of deposit set out in the citation. There is also a $5 transfer fee. Checks should be made out to the Brown County Court Clerk. The case will then be transferred to the Brown County Circuit Court for the jury trial, and all further communications would be from them.

If you do not properly request the jury trial within this period, you are forever barred and your trial will be held in this court. You must then contact the Howard Prosecuting Attorney for a pretrial conference. If the case cannot be disposed of after this conference, then a trial will be scheduled and held in this court. You also have the right to have a trial in another municipal court. If you want to do that, you must make a written demand of this court within 10 days of your initial court appearance, or you will be forever barred from transferring the trial.

You also have the right to request a continuance. If you are granted a continuance, you will be informed of the date for your next court appearance. The court may send you to jail if you do not pay your forfeiture and costs. The court may also suspend your driving privileges for failure to pay. When you approach the bench, in traffic cases, the court will inform you of the points involved in your case. The court will also advise you as to the possible forfeiture and costs involved in both municipal and traffic cases.

Please understand that a jury trial cannot be requested for any municipal/traffic charge except Operating While Intoxicated or Prohibited Blood Alcohol Content (OWI/BAC).  If you plead Not Guilty to a charge of OWI/BAC and want a jury trial, you must make a demand of this Court IN WRITING before the court date or within ten (10) days of your initial appearance and you must accompany your written demand with a check made payable to the Brown County Clerk of Court.  The check must include a jury fee of $36.00 for a 6-person jury.  It must also include the amount of the deposit listed on your citation.  The case will then be transferred to the Brown County Court and all further communication will be from them.  If you do not properly request the jury trial within the 10-day period, you are forever barred from doing so, and your trial will be held in this Court.
 


Notice to the Accused (Demerit Point Provisions)

You may be charged with a violation of a law which requires, upon conviction, that your operator's record be charged with such points and the Motor Vehicle Department may suspend your operating privileges when your driving record shows that you have obtained or accumulated 12 points in 12 months. (Violation date to violation date.)