Your appearance begins with the Court ruling on any pre-trial matters you or the prosecuting attorney wish to bring to the Court’s attention. Your trial then begins with the Court giving you and the prosecuting attorney a chance to make opening statements about the facts of the case if you wish to do so. The City Prosecutor will then present his evidence against you. You will then have a chance to tell your side of the story. At the trial, the Prosecutor must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The Prosecutor will call witnesses to testify about the facts alleged in the charge. When each witness has finished answering the Prosecutor’s questions, you or your attorney will have the right to question the witness. This is called cross-examination. Cross-examination is not a time when you can testify or argue with the witness.
After all witnesses for the City have testified, you will have an opportunity to present your case. You may testify and you may call witnesses to testify; however, you are not required to testify. If you do testify, you may also be questioned by the Prosecutor.
After you have presented your case, the Prosecutor has the right to present “rebuttal” evidence. Rebuttal evidence is evidence that explains or denies your evidence.
After all witnesses have testified, each side may give a closing argument.
The Judge must then decide if you are guilty or not guilty. If you are found guilty, the Judge will assess a punishment, considering the seriousness of the offense and any explanation offered by you during your evidence. If the Judge finds you not guilty, you are free to go.