Who are the people involved in court?
The complainant is the person who signed the complaint. This can be a private citizen or police officer. The State's representation in municipal court is the municipal prosecutor. Once a complaint has been filed, it cannot be withdrawn and it cannot be dismissed without the consent of the municipal prosecutor. The complainant may be called as a witness for the state.

The defendant is the person formally accused of the violation. The defendant will be informed of the charges, possible penalties, and his or her right to an attorney. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The burden of proof is always on the state. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant committed each part of the offense charged. The defendant has the right to testify or not testify.

If there is a trial, the victim may be called as a witness. If the defendant pleads guilty, no trial is needed but the victim has the right to address the court before the judge decides what sentence to impose.

The prosecutor is the lawyer hired by the municipality to represent the state.

Public Defender:
The public defender is the lawyer hired by the municipality to represent those defendants who cannot afford an attorney.

Defense Attorney:
The defense attorney is the lawyer hired by the defendant.

The witness is someone who testifies or offers evidence in court.

Show All Answers

1. What is the Municipal Court?
2. What type of cases are heard in Municipal Court?
3. When is a court appearance required?
4. How do I enter a Not Guilty Plea?
5. What happens on your day in court?
6. In what order are cases called?
7. What are "indictable charges"?
8. What happens at an "arraignment" or "first appearance"?
9. Who are the people involved in court?
10. Who is entitled to a public defender?
11. What is a Plea Agreement?
12. What happens during a trial?
13. What are the possible penalties?
14. What is mediation?
15. What is a Conditional Discharge?
16. How can I appeal my case?