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Frequently Asked Questions

The material in this question and answer series is for your information only. It is not legal advice and is not designed to be used in place of legal advice. You should consult your own attorney for legal advice. The St. Joseph Legal Department provides this series to provide a general summary of procedures concerning violations of city ordinances in the City of St. Joseph, Missouri. It is issued to inform generally, not to advise of specific rights. As with any general information, the answers given here may not specifically apply to you.
What does the City Prosecutor do?
The City Prosecutor is the person who actually files the official complaint against you in Municipal Court. Technically, the City Prosecutor will review the case and decide whether there is legal cause to believe you have committed a violation of the law. In some cases, the City Prosecutor will file charges that are different from what the officer wrote on the ticket. This is part of the City Prosecutor's duty and is completely legal. The complaint filed by the City Prosecutor is not expected to resolve all of those issues. The facts of a case are finally decided by the Municipal Judge at trial. The judge may find you guilty or not guilty at trial. If the judge finds that you are guilty of the crime charged at trial, he may assess a fine, probation or possibly jail time depending on the crime charged and the circumstances of the case. However, you may plead guilty to the crime and no trial will be held. The judge may assess a fine, put you on probation, or possibly sentence you to jail depending on the crime charged. This is part of the process so that contested charges are decided fairly. The City Prosecutor does not dismiss cases unless there is a legal reason to do so.

Legal Department

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1. Does the city attorney's office provide legal advice to citizens?
2. What does the City Prosecutor do?
3. Will it cost me extra to talk to the City Prosecutor?
4. When the Police Department indicates that it will be referring the case to the City Prosecutor, what steps do I need to take to follow up on the problem and the possibility of charges being filed?
5. What if I hire an attorney to represent me?
6. Who can I talk to about a ticket?
7. Why can't I talk to the City Prosecutor about my ticket over the phone?