Plea Information

Under our system of justice, all persons are presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. On a plea of not guilty, a formal trial is held either by a judge or jury. As in all criminal trials, the State is required to prove the guilt of a defendant "beyond a reasonable doubt" of the offense charged in the complaint before a defendant can be found guilty by a judge or jury.

Your decision concerning which plea to enter is very important. Please consider each plea carefully before making a decision. If you plead guilty or no contest, you should be prepared to pay the fines and court costs.

By a plea of guilty, you admit that you committed the act charged and that the act is prohibited by law, and that you have no defense or excuse for your act. Before entering your plea of guilty, you should understand the following:

The State has the burden of proving its case against you. The law does not require you to prove anything. You have the right to hear the State’s evidence and to require it to prove its case against you.

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 that you were at fault or were the party responsible for the accident.

A plea of nolo contendere or no contest means you do not contest the charges against you. You will be found guilty, but it is not an admission by you that you are guilty. A plea of nolo contendere cannot be used against you in a subsequent civil suit for damages.

A plea of not guilty means that you are informing the Court that you deny guilt in this case and the State must prove what it has charged against you. You have a right to a Pre-trial. In the Pre-trial you will speak directly with the City Prosecutor to try and resolve your case. If you and the prosecutor cannot reach an agreement, then a trial will be set for you.

If you plead not guilty, you have the right to a trial by Judge or Jury. You will need to decide whether to employ a lawyer to represent you at trial. You may defend yourself, but no one except a lawyer may represent you. Please be advised that the Hutchins Municipal Court is a Court of Record. All proceedings will be conducted according to the rules of criminal procedure and the rules of evidence. If you choose to represent yourself, you must be prepared. The court staff, bailiff, prosecuting attorney or Judge cannot act as your attorney by providing legal advice or legal assistance in the presentation of your case.