Understanding Municipal Court
The Topeka Municipal Court is a court of limited jurisdiction and record which, through its judges and staff, adjudicates traffic infractions and misdemeanor offenses that are alleged to have occurred within the Topeka city limits. All meter parking citations are under the supervision of the City of Topeka Parking Division and are NOT processed in the Municipal Court. Judges, pursuant to applicable provisions of City Ordinance, various state laws and court rules, conduct all hearings – there are no jury trials in Municipal Court.
The main mission of the Court is to promptly and fairly adjudicate all cases filed and to enforce judgments rendered. Ancillary functions include supervising probationers, conducting alcohol and drug evaluations and drug and alcohol education programs, coordinating community service and house arrest activities, providing information to citizens about the municipal judicial process and collecting fines and fees.
The Court is under the direction of the Administrative Judge and the supervision of the Court Administrator and Clerk. 2 full-time judges, including the Administrative Judge, preside over court proceedings. The support staff positions consist of:
- The Deputy Court Administrator
- 3 Office Specialists
- 6 Court Clerk IIs
- 2 Court Clerk Is
- 1 Probation Officer II
- 2 Probation Officer Is
- 1 Office Assistant III
- 1 Protective Services Officer II
- 3 Protective Services Officer Is
A person alleged to have committed a violation of City ordinance receives a citation or complaint which is filed with the Court by either an authorized law enforcement officer or the City Attorney. Persons charged are typically referred to by the Court as the “Accused” or the “Defendant.” All defendants are presumed innocent unless proven Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by the Prosecution. Generally, defendant’s must answer to the charges filed by either acknowledging guilt and paying the citation in full, including any applicable fine, costs and fees via mail or in person or by personally appearing at the court within the timeframe allotted (14 days from the date of the citation) to set a court date to have the case adjudicated. Failure to pay any citation or complaint or appear to schedule a court date within the appropriate timeframe may result in an order from the Court seeking the defendant’s arrest on a bench warrant and may result in the suspension of driving privileges for the accused with the State of Kansas. Defendants who are subject to a bench warrant for failure to appear in Court have the right to post bond or bail to seek recall of the warrant and receive a new court date.
If a defendant cannot appear for a pre-sentence investigation or a court setting, he or she is required to complete a Motion for Continuance form and submit it the Court for consideration at least 10 days prior to the court appearance date.
Persons requesting copies of court records must complete the Request for Records and submit it to the Court Clerk’s office – the records typically are ready for pickup within 72 hours (excluding weekends and recognized legal holidays) from the date of request submission.
The three most frequent types of court hearings or dockets, in their most basic forms, are arraignments, trials, and sentencings.