Policies and Procedures

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Amending a Ticket | Appeal | Arraignment | Continuance | Failure to Appear

Plea Agreement | Plea Options | Probation | Right to an Attorney

Sentencing | Sentencing Options | Trial | Trial Process | Verdict

Amending a Ticket

A defendant may request the city prosecutor to amend a moving traffic violation to a non-moving violation that will not affect the defendant's driving record.

  • The city prosecutor will determine if the defendant is eligible for an amendment.
  • The defendant can select one of two options to request an amendment:
    • Pro se plea docket option:
      • Only traffic tickets with scheduled fines can be set for a special amendment docket called the Pro Se Plea Docket. 
      • The pro se plea docket allows the defendant to meet with a city prosecutor to request an amendment.
      • The defendant does not have to be represented by an attorney.
      • The city prosecutor is prohibited from giving the defendant legal advice. 
      • The defendant is not guaranteed the charge(s) will be amended when scheduled on the pro se plea docket.
      • The city prosecutor reviews the defendant’s driving record and history of prior amendments after they are scheduled on the pro se plea docket. 
      • The city prosecutor advises the defendant if defendant is not eligible for an amendment and the defendant will be given the opportunity to select another alternative for disposition of the ticket. 
      • The cost of an amendment is double the fine amount shown on the ticket, in most cases.
      • If the defendant has accident-related charges, the defendant must provide proof that damages have been paid before attending the hearing.
      • Acceptable forms of payment are cash, Master Card or Visa.
        • The defendant’s name must be on the credit/debit card presented for payment. 
        • Personal checks will not be accepted. 
        • The defendant must pay on the date and time scheduled on the pro se plea docket.
        • A time for the defendant to pay later is not an option.
    • Attorney plea docket option:
      • The defendant can retain an attorney to request an amendment of any traffic violation, including those which do not have a scheduled fine.
      • When charges result from an accident, the defendant at fault must provide verification that restitution has been paid for the victim's damages.

Appeal

Anyone found guilty in Olathe Municipal Court has a right to appeal the conviction to the District Court of Johnson County, Kansas.

  • To appeal, the defendant must post an appearance bond in an amount determined by the municipal judge, file proper notice with a municipal court clerk, serve notice on the city prosecutor, and appear in the Johnson County District Court.
  • These requirements are subject to specific time limits; by which defendants must be comply.

Arraignment

When a complaint or traffic citation is issued, the person charged is given an arraignment date to appear in court.
  • That person, known as the "defendant," has the right to have the complaint or citation read to them prior to entering a plea.
  • The defendant may enter one of three pleas: guilty, no contest, or not guilty. 
  • The judge does not hear evidence about the case at an arraignment. 
  • After entering a not guilty plea at arraignment, the defendant may present evidence at the trial.

Continuance

The court clerk is authorized to grant a two-week arraignment continuance from the original arraignment date, provided the defendant appears personally to sign a new Notice to Appear.  All other continuances require an appearance in front of the judge.

Once a case has been set for trial, all continuances must be approved by the prosecutor. Upon approval, the pro-se defendant must come to the Municipal Court facility prior to the trial date and sign a new Notice to Appear. An attorney trial continuance may be handled by phone if the prosecutor has issued approval.

Failure to Appear

Defendants who fail to appear for a required court appearance will be subject to arrest on a bench warrant.
Defendants who have missed a court appearance may appear before a judge on Monday of each week at a "Walk-in" Docket at 8:00 a.m.  At that time a defendant may request the court to set aside previously ordered bench warrants.
Defendants who fail to appear on moving violations are also subject to a suspension of their driver's license.

Plea Agreement

A case may be disposed of without a trial through a plea agreement or the diversion program.
A plea agreements or diversion are done at the discretion of the City of Olathe Prosecutor's Office. Both are a privilege, not a right.

The city prosecutor cannot initiate plea negotiations, and the prosecutor has no obligation to discuss a case.
Plea agreements are made between the defendant, the attorney hired for the case, and the prosecutor.
The judge is not bound by the plea agreement and the judge can reject any or all of the negotiated agreement.

Plea Options

  • Guilty: The defendant admits to the act they are charged with, and they admit that the act is unlawful, and that they have no defense for the action they committed. In most minor traffic cases, a guilty plea and fine will be accepted through the mail or by phone.
  • Not guilty: The defendant denies that they committed the unlawful act they for which they are charged. At that time it becomes the responsibility of the city to prove the defendant is guilty of the charge. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • No contest: The defendant has the option to plea “no contest” to the city's charge. Upon a plea of no contest, the judge enters a finding of guilty and orders a fine, jail time or other sentence. A plea of no contest is not an admission of guilt or fault and cannot be used against the defendant in a civil suit for damages.

Probation

Probation is a conditional release granted to a defendant following conviction. While on probation, you will be supervised by the court and asked to meet certain conditions.

Right to an Attorney

A defendant has a right to representation by a retained attorney
A defendant who meets financial guidelines and is charged with an offense that subjects them to the possibility of incarceration may be eligible for a court-appointed attorney.

Sentencing

If the court orders a Substance Abuse Evaluation (ADSAP) or a Pre-Sentence Investigation, the sentencing will be continued to a new court date. 

A Pre-sentence Investigation will be ordered if the city prosecutor contemplates a jail term and/or probation.
Jail time may be ordered for certain criminal offenses.
Probation is a conditional release from custody during which the defendant is supervised by a court services officer and required by the court to meet certain conditions.

Sentencing Options

  • Jail time may be ordered for certain offenses. All persons sentenced to jail time in Olathe Municipal Court are sent to Johnson County Adult Detention in Olathe, KS.
  • Fines and fees may be assessed by the court in all cases. The amount assessed is determined by local ordinances and state statutes.  Fines may also be affected by facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history.  If a defendant is found guilty, court costs and other fees are added to the fine amount. All fines and fees are due the day they are assessed.
  • Probation is a conditional release granted to a defendant following conviction. During the probation period a defendant will be supervised by a Court Services Officer and will be required to meet conditions as outlined on the probation contract. If a defendant fails to meet any of those conditions they may be required by the Judge at a Revocation Hearing, to serve the full original jail time received at sentencing and/or pay fines
  • House arrest is a sentencing option for electronic supervision in the defendant’s home and monitored by an outside agency.
  • Restitution can be ordered by the court in cases involving financial loss directly related to the crime for which a defendant is convicted.

Trial

Trials are held before the municipal judge. Jury trials are not available.
The defendant may request the court clerk to issue subpoenas for witnesses. The prosecutor will present evidence in support of the charge(s).  The defendant has the right to cross examine each witness. 
After the prosecution has rested its case, the defendant has the right to testify and call witnesses who have knowledge about the case.  The prosecutor has the right to cross examine. 
The judge's verdict will be based on the city ordinance involved and the evidence, including testimony under oath presented during trial.

Trial Process

The city prosecutor calls witnesses to testify against the defendant. The defendant has a right to cross examine each witness. After the prosecution has presented its case, the defendant has the right to call any witness who knows anything about the incident. The defendant also has the right to have the court issue subpoenas for witnesses to ensure their appearance at trial and to testify or not to testify personally. If the defendant testifies, the prosecutor has a right to cross examine the defendant.

Verdict

The judge's verdict is based on the city ordinance involved and the testimony and facts presented during the trial. In making a determination, the judge can only consider the testimony of witnesses who are under oath.

If you are found guilty, the penalty will either be announced at that time or at a sentencing docket after a pre-sentence investigation. Pre-sentence investigations are normally requested when some type of psychological, alcohol, or drug evaluation is needed prior to sentencing. Pre-sentence investigations are also conducted if a defendant has an extensive criminal record.

Court policies and procedures follow K.S.A. 12-4101 et seq., Kansas Code of Municipal Courts.

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