The Municipal Court is now able to process not guilty pleas online, and defendants now also have the choice of selecting (via the Court’s website) preferred court days or dates on which to schedule a pre-trial hearing.
Kristine Hinrichs, the chief administrator of Municipal Court, said with the Court’s new enhanced online option, a not guilty plea can be submitted more quickly and efficiently than ever before. “The online scheduling system provides a more efficient, streamlined approach that allows defendants to indicate a preferred pre-trial date and collects the information necessary for Court staff to process the requests more quickly and easily,” she said.
The Municipal Court will require a valid driver’s license (DL) number in order to confirm the identity of the individual submitting the plea as well as a valid email address.
As with mailed and faxed not guilty pleas, there will still be a five-day filing deadline to allow the Court sufficient time to process the plea and reschedule the case for pre-trial.
For cases that are already filed with the court and scheduled for arraignment, the defendant will need to provide his/her DL number and a valid email address in order to submit the plea. If the case has not yet been filed with the court, the defendant can provide his/her DL number, a valid email address and several key pieces of information about the citation so that the plea can be matched to the case when it is filed and processed.
Not all cases will be eligible for online pleas; for instance, cases issued for Operating While Intoxicated (which require appearance at arraignment) and those filed without a DL number or involving corporate defendants (which both require a written plea with a defendant signature) will not be eligible.
According to Ms. Hinrichs, this is the first of several additional planned website enhancements. In the near future, the Municipal Court will also be providing the ability to reschedule certain types of hearings and request first-time payment extensions via its case information website.