Q. Do I have to call on my court date to speak with the City Attorney?
A. YES, unless you hired a lawyer to appear for you. Parents cannot substitute for their children. Spouses cannot substitute for each other. If you do not call within five (5) minutes of your hearing, you will be found guilty as charged. You will owe a forfeiture. For some charges, you may also have points against your driver's license and/or a suspension of the license.
Q. What happens at the telephone pretrial?
A. You speak with your opponent, the City Attorney. You discuss settling the case. The City Attorney does not represent you or the court. The judge stays neutral and independent. If you reach an agreement, the City Attorney will submit it in writing to the judge. The judge does not have to accept the agreement, but often does. If you do not settle the case, it will be set for trial. The pretrial is not a trial. The judge will not hear any testimony that day. The City Attorney can advise you how to provide any documents or photos to support your claim during the pretrial. It can sometimes help with negotiations.
Q. Will I be given a lawyer?
A. No. This is not a criminal charge so you are not entitled to a lawyer. Also, the City Attorney does not represent you or the court. The court remains neutral.
Q. What if my address changes?
A. You must notify the court in writing within 5 days of any change of address during the pendency of the case.
Q. What happens if I settle the case and do not comply with the court order?
A. You will be subject to a warrant for your arrest, suspension of your driver's license for up to 1 year and/or a collection action.