Your Rights in the Municipal Court of Black Jack, Missouri
The Municipal Court for the City of Black Jack, Missouri is authorized by the State Constitution and created by Ordinance of the City. The purpose of this Court is to provide you with a place to obtain a fair and impartial trial on any citation alleging a violation. The Court has jurisdiction of all cases arising under the Ordinances of the City of Black Jack and all such other jurisdiction as is or may be hereafter conferred by law. Upon conviction, you may be fined not less than One Dollar ($1.00), not more than one thousand Dollars ($1000.00), or you may be imprisoned, not to exceed three (3) months, or be punished by both fine and imprisonment. This Court does not settle questions of civil money damages.

Courtroom Expectations
While in the courtroom, you are expected to:
  • Remove your hat
  • Remain seated until your case is called
  • Not smoke or consume food or drink
  • Not talk or make noise
  • Not sleep or otherwise disrupt the court proceedings
You have a right to plead guilty, guilty with an explanation, or not guilty. You are presumed innocent unless and until the city’s prosecution proves you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If, after the charge is read and you understand it, you feel you have violated the law, you may enter a plea of guilty. If you believe you have not violated the law or have a defense to the alleged violation, you should plead not guilty. If in doubt, plead not guilty. 

Right to Attorney

You have the right to be represented by an attorney and may employ one to represent you:
  • Before pleading to a charge
  • To defend against any charge
  • To protect your rights in any other court procedure before trial
At the first setting of your case, you have the right to obtain a continuance in order to obtain a lawyer or to prepare your defense. If you desire a continuance, you should request it after your case is called and before entering your plea of guilty or not guilty. If you are indigent and unable to hire an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney for you if you can show that you cannot afford one in any case where, upon conviction, there is a likely hood of a jail sentence being imposed. However, you may waive such right if you choose.

Pleading Guilty
  • You will be sentenced this evening
  • The court may allow you time to pay your fine. If you are given an extension to pay your fine, you will receive a sheet explaining payment:
    • Read the sheet carefully
    • Make sure you appear on the court date noted on the slip if you have not paid your court fine as instructed
    • Failure to appear may result in a warrant for your arrest being issued
Pleading Guilty With an Explanation
Defendants will be given an opportunity to present any unusual circumstances which they believe are in their favor. Please remember that when you plead guilty with an explanation, you are pleading guilty to the offense.

Pleading Not Guilty

Because of the number of cases before the court each month and the need to have the officer and any witnesses present, your case cannot be heard tonight. You will be given a future court date for 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 determining your guilt or innocence.
  • You have a right to question all witnesses who testify against you.
  • Your case is tried. If you are found not guilty, the case is dismissed.
  • You may, if found guilty, accept the decision of the Municipal Court or appeal your case to the St. Louis County Circuit Court, where you may have a new trial before a new judge or jury. The request for appeal must be made within 10 days of entry of the court’s decision and cannot be extended for any reason.
Order of Trial
  • The case is called
  • The charge is read
  • Witnesses are sworn
  • The prosecutor questions the city’s witnesses, you or your attorney then have the opportunity to cross-examine these witnesses
  • You may testify and/or call witnesses to testify in your behalf to explain your version of what happened
  • The city prosecutor may question you and your witnesses
  • The judge renders the court’s decision
Helpful Information
  • This is a Court of Law established to protect the rights of all citizens. If there is anything you do not understand, do not hesitate to ask questions.
  • This court is not conducted as a source of revenue. No part of any fine or costs goes to the judge, the prosecutor, any police officer, or city official. The efficiency of a police officer is not determined in a way by the number of tickets that he/she issues.
  • In traffic cases, the objective of the court is to reduce the number of accidents and injuries in order to make our streets safer. Careful driving is the daily responsibility of each and every driver.
Please contact City Hall at 314-355-0400 for all other violations, or if you have any questions regarding your summons. Court costs must be included with your payment, even those cases paid out of court.