What to Expect at East Fork Justice Court
We understand that you may have many questions about what to expect when you appear in court. The following information is provided for your convenience. It outlines a criminal defendant’s options and actions while working within the court system.
Follow the links at the bottom of each page to step through to the next section. If you do not understand or have other questions, you may ask the judge when you appear. If you are looking for an answer to a specific question, try visiting the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.
So you’ve been charged with a crime by the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Deputy, Contractor’s License Board, Department of Wildlife, or other government authority (Criminal), or you’ve been sued by another person and served due process (Civil). Start here to understand the charges against you.
When you show up in court, there are certain rules you must follow.
Your first appearance is listed on your citation. Check in at the Justice Court window, and you will be given the option to pay your ticket, meet with a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s office for a pre-trial conference, or set your case for trial. If you do not reach an agreement at the pre-trial conference, you may have your case set for trial. If you pay the ticket and choose not to contest it, then you are not required to appear in court.
When you’ve been charged with a crime you must appear in Court and may enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. If you fail to appear as required by law, a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest.
The District Attorney will be present when you enter your plea. The District Attorney may speak with you about your case. You are not required to speak to the District Attorney. The District Attorney’s Office has valuable information about your case which may assist you in deciding whether to enter a plea, negotiate a settlement, or proceed to trial.
If your case goes to trial you will have an opportunity to explain your case and see the evidence against you. You may bring your own witnesses, or compel their attendance by subpoena. If convicted, you will be sentenced.
If you are convicted, then you typically will owe the court a fee along with any other fines imposed by your unlawful actions. Your sentencing may include jail time, or other conditions such as attending 12-step meetings, or counseling, if there is a victim of the crime, notice must be given to the victim for sentencing. He or she will have an opportunity to make a victim impact statement.
You may have been arrested on a warrant. If you were released from jail, you were assigned a time and date to appear in Court. If you have lost this information, you should immediately contact the Court to remind yourself of this important appearance.
If you do not appear in Court as promised or obtain an extension from the Court prior to your Court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest. You could face additional jail time and fines for missing a Court date.