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If you plead Not Guilty, a trial is held on a sworn
Complaint filed against you. A Complaint is the document
which alleges the act you committed. You can only be
tried for what is alleged in the Complaint. You have the
If you have a jury trial, you may question potential jurors
about their qualifications to hear your case. You may
remove none or up to three potential jurors for any reason
you choose, except a reason based solely upon a person’s
race, gender, sex, or religion.
In criminal trials, the State presents its case first by calling
witnesses. After prosecution witnesses have testified, you
have the right to cross-examine. You may ask the witnesses
questions about their testimony or other facts relevant to
the case. Your cross examination of the witness must be in
the form of questions. You may not give testimony at this
After the prosecution has rested its case, you may present
your evidence. You have the right to bring or subpoena a
witness who knows anything about the offense. The State
has the right to cross-examine any witness that you bring
You may testify on your own behalf but, as a defendant,
you cannot be compelled to testify. Your silence cannot be
used against you if you do not testify. If you testify, the
State has the right to cross-examine you.
After testimony is concluded, both sides may make a
closing argument. You may tell the court or jury why you
are not guilty of the offense charged. The State has the
right to present the first and last arguments. The closing
argument can be based only on the testimony admitted
during the trial.
If the judge tries the case, the judge’s decision is
called a judgment. If a jury tries the case, the jury’s
decision is called a verdict.
If a judge or jury finds you guilty, a fine will be
announced at the trial. Unless you appeal your case,
you should be prepared to pay the fine, court costs,
If you are found guilty, you may request a new trial.
The motion must be made in writing within ten days
after a judgment has been entered against you. The
judge may, for good cause, grant a new trial if the
judge considers that justice has not been done in the
trial of your case. Only one new trial may be granted
for each offense.
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