Defendants in criminal cases have the right to have a jury of their peers decide their guilt or innocence if they face the possibility of jail. Therefore, before trial, defendants need to decide whether to have a Jury Trial, or a Court Trial (where the Judge decides the outcome).
If the defendant is charged with a felony or misdemeanor, they have an automatic right to a Jury Trial.
If the defendant is charged with a petty offense or municipal ordinance violation and chooses to have a Jury Trial, they must complete a Jury Demand form and post a $25 jury deposit fee. Defendants have 21 days from the date of their not guilty plea to file the Jury Demand form and pay the fee with the court. If the defendant misses the deadline, they lose their right to a Jury Trial.
Everyone accused of a crime is legally presumed to be innocent until they are convicted, either by being proven guilty at a trial or by pleading guilty prior to trial. This means that it is the prosecutor who has to convince the jury or Judge that the defendant is guilty and must provide proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant has the right to remain silent and that silence cannot be used against him or her.
The law says how soon a defendant must be brought to trial. For defendants charged with a municipal ordinance violation, the trial must be held within 90 days of the defendant’s not guilty plea. For defendants charged with a misdemeanor or petty offense, the trial must be held within 180 days of the defendant’s not guilty plea.
The defendant may waive (give up) the right to a speedy trial. This means the defendant agrees to have the trial after the required deadline.
Trial courtrooms for municipal ordinance cases are located in the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthouse at 520 W. Colfax Avenue and are Courtroom 3G; Courtroom 3H; Courtroom 4A; and Courtroom 4B.
Trial courtrooms for misdemeanor or petty offense cases are located in the Lindsey-Flanigan Courthuse at 520 W. Colfax Avenue and are Courtroom 3A; Courtroom 3B; Courtroom 3C; Courtroom 3D; Courtroom 3E; and 3F.