Municipal Court Procedures

The Court has jurisdiction over traffic and non-traffic ordinances in the Village of Fox Crossing. You have a right to be represented by an attorney, or you may go ahead without one. If you want an attorney, you must retain one at your own expense. The Court will not appoint an attorney for you.


At the initial appearance, the defendant will enter a plea. Only those cases where the defendant enters a plea of guilty or no contest will be disposed of at the initial appearance. If the defendant enters a not guilty plea, the case will be scheduled for trial at a later date. A not guilty plea may be entered in writing, by fax, or by e-mail. At the trial, the Village Attorney will be present along with witnesses. You should have your witnesses in attendance at that time. If you are cited for a violation of Operating While Under the Influence and plead not guilty, you may request a Jury Trial before the Winnebago County Circuit Court. A timely written request and payment of the required fees must be made within ten (10) days of the initial appearance.


If you plead GUILTY, it is an admission that the charges against you are true. The Municipal Judge will then review the facts of the case.

A plea of NO CONTEST is similar to a plea of guilty, and will be treated the same as a guilty plea. By pleading no contest you will be admitting the charge. However, your plea cannot be used against you to prove your civil liability if personal injury or property damage is involved.

Where pleas of guilty or no contest are made, a money judgment (forfeiture) is entered against you. You will be given an opportunity to tell the judge about any mitigating circumstances surrounding the charge.

If you plead NOT GUILTY, it means that you feel that the Village should have to prove the charge against you. If you are in doubt as to which plea to enter, you should plead not guilty, or ask for an adjournment date. Based on a not guilty plea, the Village must prove your guilt by “clear and convincing evidence.” In short, the facts proven by the Village must indicate that it is highly probable that you committed the ordinance violation.


Those pleading not guilty will first be given a trial date and will be released. The remainder of the defendants pleading guilty or no contest will remain. When your name is called, please advance promptly to a position in front of the bench. I will then inform you of the charges and of the consequences of your plea, traffic demerit points, minimum and maximum forfeitures, etc. After accepting your plea, the judge will review the police report and your past record. You may make a brief statement.  The judge will then impose a sentence based upon the seriousness of the present charge and any past record.


If you are found guilty, a monetary forfeiture plus costs will be imposed. Forfeitures may be paid immediately. If you fail to pay your forfeiture within 60 days, your driver’s license may be suspended for a period up to one year. The court may also order confinement in the Winnebago County Jail. Finally, the court may send forfeiture to state debt collection which has additional fees and the authority to garnish wages and bank accounts. For more information see Payment Options.


If you are found guilty of a traffic offense, in addition to any judgment made by the Court, the State Department of Transportation in most cases will assess demerit points against your driving record. The assessment of 12 points or more in 12 months shall result in the loss of your license. Any person holding a probationary or graduated license will be assessed additional demerit points for the second and all subsequent violations. Juveniles cited for traffic ordinance violations are subject to the same forfeitures and court procedures as adults.


The Municipal Court has jurisdiction over persons between 12 and 16 years of age charged with non-traffic ordinance violations. Juveniles should appear in court with a parent or guardian. They have a right to a private (closed) hearing, but may waive this right. A money judgment may be entered against a juvenile found guilty of a non-traffic ordinance violation. If the juvenile fails to pay the judgment, his/her driver’s license, or ability to obtain a license, shall be suspended for a period up to one years If the offense is alcohol related, a report will be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Alternative penalties or referrals to Teen Court may be available in appropriate cases.


This is a court of law and the rules of proper decorum and evidence will be followed. Please remain quiet while the Court is in session and give others the courtesy to be heard and present their case. Smoking is prohibited in the Municipal Court. All hats must be removed. Persons who fail to conduct themselves in an orderly matter may be cited for contempt.


The trial procedure is as follows: The prosecution will produce its witnesses to testify as to the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. You or your attorney will be permitted to cross-examine each witness. When the prosecution has completed its case, you and your witnesses will be given an opportunity to testify and will be subjected to cross-examination by the prosecution. After all the evidence has been presented, the prosecution and the defense will be given another opportunity to summarize their respective cases to the Court through brief argument. Thereafter, the Court will determine if the Village has established that you violated the ordinance by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence. If the Court finds you not guilty, the citation against you will be dismissed. If you are found guilty, the Court will impose a penalty taking into consideration the seriousness of the violation, the hazardous conditions, if any, which may have existed at the time, and your past record.


If you are found guilty after trial, you may appeal your case to the Winnebago County Circuit Court. All appeals must be filed within 20 days after judgment with the appropriate appeal fee. If you fail to meet this time limit, you have lost your right to appeal.