Under Kansas law, a person can be brought to trial only after a complaint or traffic citation has been filed. The complaint or citation is a document that outlines what the person is accused of and states that the action is unlawful. The person being charged is referred to as the defendant.

If you enter a plea of not guilty, it means you deny guilt and the City must prove its charges. Under our American system of justice, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a trial, the burden of proof is on the City. Jury trials are not held at the municipal court level. A judge, who reaches a verdict and imposes the sentence, hears all testimony.

In all cases, you have a right to representation by an attorney. If you do not choose to be represented by an attorney, you may act as your own attorney. This is call appearing pro se. In a trial, the prosecutor will begin by calling witnesses to testify against you. After each prosecution witness testifies, you have a right to cross-examine each witness. Your cross-examination must be in the form of questions; you are not allowed to argue with a witness. This is not the time for you to tell your side of the story. That opportunity comes later in the trial.

After the prosecution has presented its case, you have the right to call any witnesses who knows anything about the incident. You have the right to have the court issue subpoenas for witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial. You have the right to testify and you have a constitutional right not to testify. Choosing not to testify will not be used against you in determining guilt or innocence. However, if you do testify, the prosecutor will have the right to cross-examine you.