As of August 2020, the Sparta Municipal Division has transferred it’s docket to be heard by Judge Bacon at the Christian County Justice Center. If you have questions about your case, most answers can be found by looking it up on CaseNet. Any remaining questions can be answered by contacting the Justice Center using the information below.
Christian County Justice Center:
110 W. Elm St
Ozark, MO 65721
What is Municipal Court?
The Municipal Court for the City of Sparta is a Division of the 38th 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.
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.