Trials are conducted as a trial to the court before a judge. Trials are usually scheduled on the second Wednesday of each month. You will receive a notice setting forth the date and time. The notice will include a sheet, "Rules & Information Pertaining to Trials," providing you with information on subpoenaing witnesses, requesting an adjournment (rescheduling) of the trial date, changing your plea prior to the trial date and the consequences of not appearing for trial.
At the trial the Town of Cottage Grove (plaintiff) will be represented by the Town Attorney. You, the defendant, may hire an attorney to represent you at your expense. The vast number of defendants who go to trial in Municipal Courts do not hire an attorney. If you do not have an attorney, the judge will guide you through the process and protect your rights.
The Town of Cottage Grove is burdened to prove your guilt, not beyond a reasonable doubt - which is the standard in criminal cases - but by "evidence that is clear, is satisfactory and convinces the judge to a reasonable certainty." It is not a light burden, though not has heavy a burden as is required in criminal cases.
The town will try to meet its burden of proof by calling witnesses to the stand and directing questions to them designed to prompt testimony that will evidence why you should be found guilty. You have the right to cross-exam (question) every witness that the town calls. The town might also call you to the stand to testify as part of its case. If that happens, you will still be able to testify on your own.
When the town rest its case, you will have the right to testify yourself and call any witnesses that you might bring into court or that the town has brought into court. The town has the right to cross-exam you and any witness you bring, the same as you have with respect to any witness called by the town. When all the evidence is in, the Town Attorney and you will be allowed to argue in support of your respective positions and the judge will then issue a decision.
If you do not agree with the judge's decision, you have the right to appeal. Refer to Appeal.