Missouri is unique from most states in that we don't just have state courts prosecuting criminal offenses, but also municipal courts. There are hundreds of municipal courts in Missouri. To prove this point, St. Louis County alone has 82 municipal courts. These courts have been under heavy scrutiny since Ferguson in 2014. The laws giving municipal courts their authority, sentencing, fine assessments and warrant abilities have been more restricted since. However, municipal courts can still issue warrants, sentence people to jail time and assess fines of hundreds of dollars for each alleged offense and force restitution to be paid to alleged victims totaling thousands of dollars.
Most people who have had dealings with municipal courts know, they are designed to primarily make money for the city they represent. However, these courts are capable of not only charging people with city ordinance violations, but also state criminal misdemeanor charges such as traffic offenses, DWI, criminal damage to property, possession of marijuana, theft and assault just to name a few. In many cases, Attorney Travis Strobach will be able to negotiate an offer that will amend your charge from a serious offense to littering, driving improper equipment or other similar charges that carry no collateral consequences. However, not everyone charged with an offense is guilty. Therefore, in this situation you would likely want to force the municipal prosecutor to prove you guilty of your charge. You have a choice at this point. You can either have a trial at the municipal level or remove your case to a state court.
If you wish to have a trial in a state court, there is a way to remove your case from the municipal court. This process is called "certifying a case" and can in certain circumstances benefit someone who is charged with a criminal offense. This process allows your case to be tried in front of a state judge and is not held in the municipal court. To discuss your case and your legal rights and options call Attorney Travis Strobach today for your free consultation (314) 651-9360