Honorable Judge Matthew B. Owen
Prosecuting Attorney: Patty Shilling
Court Clerk: Beckie J. Vessar
131 North Avenue
P.O. Box 246
Sparta, MO 65753
For Your Information:
PAYMENT OPTIONS: The Sparta Municipal Court accepts Money Order or Cash only. Payments also accepted by mail with a signed guilty plea.
Payments can be taken from 8:30 – 4:30 any weekday at 131 North Avenue in Sparta City Hall, or mailed to: Sparta Municipal Court, P.O. Box 246, Sparta, MO 65753
To pay by phone, please call: 1-877-793-7144. Or click here to pay online. Please have your citation number and Court Date available to call or pay online.
What is Municipal Court?
The Municipal Court for the City of Sparta is a Division of the Circuit Court of Christian County. It decides cases involving alleged violations of city ordinances. If you have received a ticket for a municipal ordinance violation, you have certain rights and responsibilities.
THE ARRAIGNMENT: When a ticket is issued for an ordinance violation, the defendant is given a date and a time to appear in Municipal Court. On that date an arraignment is held. At the arraignment, the Judge will read the charge that has been filed against the defendant by the City’s Prosecuting Attorney. The defendant must then plead ‘guilty’ or ‘not guilty’. By law, those are the ONLY pleas which can be accepted by the Court.
A ‘GUILTY’ PLEA: If the defendant pleads guilty, the defendant is telling the Court that he or she has committed the act that he or she is being charged with and that act is a violation of a valid city ordinance. The Judge must then decide what penalty will be assessed. At this time, the defendant will have an opportunity to communicate any special circumstances that the Judge should consider. The judge will then assess a penalty in accordance with the law, taking into account the seriousness of the offense and any explanation offered by the defendant. If the defendant pleads ‘guilty’, the Judge will find the defendant guilty. Any explanation that is subsequently offered by the defendant can only affect the penalty assessed. By pleading ‘guilty’, the defendant waives the right to a trial, the right to be represented by an attorney and the right to appeal this matter. There will not be an opportunity at a later time to say that the charge against the defendant is not true.
A ‘NOT GUILTY’ PLEA: A plea of ‘not guilty’ means the defendant believes he or she has not violated the law in the manner and form charged on the ticket. When the defendant pleads ‘not guilty’, the Judge will set a date for trial. At the trial, the City Prosecutor will present evidence against the defendant and then the defendant will have a chance to tell his or her side of the story. A defendant does not need to be represented by an attorney in order to plead ‘not guilty’. A defendant may represent him or herself at trial. If a defendant pleads ‘not guilty’, an appearance in Court is required. If the defendant wishes to change their plea to ‘guilty’, the guilty plea must be entered with the Judge, on or before the date set for trial.
Call 634-3992 for PRE-PAY FINE SCHEDULE AMOUNT
*Court costs will be assessed in addition to the fine amount, and not all charges qualify for pre-payment.
Caution: Whenever a defendant is found guilty in Municipal Court of a moving violation, a copy of the conviction is sent to the Operators and Chauffeurs License Registration Unit of the Department of Revenue of the State of Missouri. That department will assess points against the defendant as required by law. For information, you should call the Department of Revenue. Also be aware that a conviction for a moving violation may affect the amount you pay for automobile insurance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a way to pay for a ticket without appearing in Court? Some tickets can be paid for out of Court. They must, however be paid for before the date you are ordered to appear in Court. If the ticket is not paid for by then, and you do not appear in Court as ordered, a warrant for your arrest may be issued. To find out if you can pay your fine out of Court, contact the Municipal Court Clerk at 417-634-3992. Allow a few days to elapse before calling to insure that the Prosecuting Attorney’s office has received a copy of the ticket.
What if I need to change the date of my arraignment or trial? It is within Court’s discretion to grant continuances. The Court is reluctant to grant continuances except in extraordinary circumstances. The sooner a request for continuance is made, the more likely it will be granted. The Court may require written proof of your excuse.
What if I do not appear in Court on the date set for my arraignment or trial? A warrant may be issued for your arrest and you will be required to post bond or remain in jail until the next earliest court date.