The Municipal Court of the City of Clinton has jurisdiction over all traffic offenses and misdemeanor criminal violations that occur within the city limits of the City of Clinton and that are filed by City of Clinton police officers.
The first appearance in Municipal Court is called an arraignment. At this time you will be called upon to enter a plea (or answer) to the charge proferred against you.
You may plead guilty indicating that you admit you committed the offense and wish to waive your right to a trial; no contest indicating that you do not admit the charge but do NOT wish to contest the charge; or not guilty indicating to the court that you wish to contest the charge and are exercising your right to a trial.
Should you plead guilty or no contest, the case will proceed immediately to the sentencing phase.
You are still permitted to appeal your case to Hinds County Court should you so desire. Should you plead not guilty you will receive a trial date.
Arraignments are always on Wednesdays. Your ticket or bond will indicate the date of your arraignment. Failure to appear for arraignment will result in a warrant for your immediate arrest, and if a bond was posted, immediate notification to the bonding company.
Trials are held on either Wednesday or Thursday afternoons at 1:00 p.m., as assigned. In municipal courts in Mississippi, trials are by judge only (no jury).
You may be represented by an attorney authorized to practice in this state or you may represent yourself. If you wish to have an attorney represent you, and you cannot afford to hire your own attorney, you must advise the court of this fact at your arraignment. You will then be given information necessary to obtain a court-appointed attorney. Attorneys are appointed by the judge if the charge against you carries mandatory or anticipated jail time and you meet all other financial criteria. Otherwise you will be required to hire your own counsel. If you choose to represent yourself, you must conform to all rules of court including rules of evidence. No court may lessen this requirement simply because you are not legally trained.
In a trial you are also entitled to certain rights, including:
- The right to a copy of the affadavit
- The right to hear all testimony against you
- The right to cross examine witnesses against you
- The right to testify on your own behalf
- The right to decline to testify without any inference drawn against you
- The right to call witnesses on your own behalf. Should you need to subpoena witnesses, the clerk will do so if your provide a list of the witnesses and their addresses at least ten days prior to trial.
Should you fail to appear for trial, these rights are waived and the case may be tried without you. If you are found guilty, a warrant will be issued for your immediate arrest. If a bond was posted, the bondsman will be notified immediately.
If you are unsure of the location of the traffic charge or misdemeanor arrest, review your ticket or bond release information for the proper venue.
This court does not have jurisdiction of felony cases beyond the preliminary hearing, or juvenile criminal arrests but does have jurisdiction of juveniles charged with traffic offenses (including DUI), liquor law violations, tobacco violations, and those juveniles who have been certified as adults or previously arrested as an adult.