Attorney Thomas J. McDermott
Magistrate

Your Rights as a Defendant

If you are in court today, and have been charged with a criminal or traffic offense(s), you are entitled to be informed of:

1. The nature of the charge(s) filed against you; a reading of the affidavit or complaint filed against you. If you do not understand the nature of the charge, it may be explained to you.

2. The potential penalties of the offense(s) charged.

3. Your right to know the identity of the complainant.

4. Your right to be represented by an attorney.

5. Your right to a reasonable continuance in the proceedings to consult and/or retain an attorney. In any case involving a charge(s) that could result in the imposition of jail time, if you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you. (If demanding this right, the case would be transferred to Bowling Green Municipal Court).

IF YOU ARE NOT REPRESENTED BY COUNSEL AND DO NOT WISH TO CONSULT AN ATTORNEY, YOU MAY PROCEED WITH THE CASE TODAY. YOU HAVE CERTAIN RIGHTS:

1. You have the right to counsel, even if you intend to plead guilty.

2. You have a right to bail, if the offense is bailable.

3. You have the right to remain silent, but any statement you do make, can and may be used against you in prosecuting the charge(s).

YOU MAY PLEAD “GUILTY,” “NOT GUILTY” OR “NO CONTEST.”

A plea of “guilty” is a complete admission of guilt as charged.

A plea of “no contest” is neither an admission nor a denial of guilt, but it is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. A plea of “no contest” cannot be used against you in any subsequent civil or criminal proceeding.

If you enter a plea of “NOT GUILTY,” your case will proceed to trial. At trial, you will be presumed innocent. The burden of proof is upon the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to the Magistrate. The prosecution will present its evidence, and you or your attorney will have the opportunity, in open court, to cross-examine the witnesses presented against you. You will have the right to call witnesses and to present evidence. You need not testify at trial, you would have the right to remain silent and would exercise that right by choosing not the testify.