Courtroom Rules

RULES IN THE MUNICIPAL COURT OF BETHANY, OKLAHOMA

The following rules are adopted to guide the practice and procedures of the Municipal Court of the City of Bethany, Oklahoma. In addition, the Rules for District Courts of Oklahoma are incorporated herein, when and where applicable and not in conflict with Bethany Court Rules set out herein.

RULE NO. 1

RELEASE ON BOND

A. Pending determination of any case filed against a defendant, the defendant may be released on a cash, surety or own recognizance bond. The amount of the bond shall be as established by the Bond Schedule approved by the Court. No person shall be eligible for an own recognizance bond where (i) there is a substantial risk of non-appearance; (ii) the defendant has been arrested on a bench warrant; (iii) the defendant has failed or refused to pay fines and/or costs in a case; or where the defendant has failed to appear while on a previous own recognizance bond.

B. The Court authorizes attorneys who are members in good standing with the Oklahoma County and Canadian County Bar Associations to participate in an Own Recognizance Bond Program under the rules established by the Court. Membership in the Oklahoma County Bar Association OR program is not required. Upon enrollment in the program the name of the attorney shall be placed on a list of qualified attorneys maintained in the Police Department and Office of the Court Clerk. A participating attorney may recommend a client for release under the program and upon the execution of the own recognizance form, the client may be released into the custody of the attorney. Such a bond will not be exonerated until the matter is concluded, the client surrendered for further bonding in the even the client-attorney relationship is terminated or the bond is substituted by a cash or surety bond in an appropriate amount.

C. A bond forfeiture or bench warrant will be set aside only if all statutory requirements are met. All motions to vacate bond forfeiture or recalling a bench warrant must be in writing except oral motions may be made on the same date of the defaulting defendant’s scheduled appearance.

RULE NO. 2

PAYMENT OF FINES, COSTS AND FEES

All fines, costs and fees are due and payable in full at the time a plea or finding of guilt is entered and approved by the Court. In the event the defendant is placed on probation by means of a deferred or continued sentence, all fines, costs and fees shall be payable at the time the plea is entered and the order of probation is entered.

Fines, costs and fees or other monetary obligations due may be paid in cash, check, money order. In addition, payment by credit card, debit card or similar means of payment through banks or national credit card companies will also be accepted. Payments attempted by means other than cash and which are not fully negotiated or honored will constitute the basis for issuance of a warrant for your arrest for failure to pay the original fines, costs and fees.

RULE NO. 3

REPRESENTATION BY ATTORNEYS

Every attorney representing a client before the Court shall first file an Entry of Appearance and shall continue representation until the matter before the court is resolved through trial or plea and sentencing and probation. Once an entry of appearance is made, the attorney will not be permitted to withdraw except for good cause shown at a hearing before the Court and upon notice to the client.

RULE NO. 4

COURTROOM DEMEANOR

All persons entering the courtroom will be expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not interfere with the court business and proceedings. To that end, the following conduct will be observed by all persons in the courtroom. First, appropriate clothing and attire are required. Wearing of shorts, tank tops, or bathing suits will not be permitted. Shoes are required with all strings tied. All hats, caps, and other head covering, and coats shall be removed before entering the courtroom. Cell phones and similar devices shall be turned off or rendered inaudible. Since space is limited in the courtroom, we ask that you not bring small children or other family members with you unless necessary. If you are under the age of 18, a parent or guardian must appear with you.

RULE NO. 5

APPEARANCES AND SCHEDULING

Defendants charged with traffic and other offenses not involving a penalty of a fine in excess of $500.00 or imprisonment may appear during regular business hour and upon endorsement of the charging information enter a plea of guilty or no contest and pay the scheduled fine and fees, if any. No further appearance is necessary. All other defendants must appear at the scheduled arraignment for the purpose of entering a plea before the judge. A plea of guilty, no contest, or not guilty must be entered at this initial appearance. In matters involving a potential fine in excess of $500.00 or imprisonment, a plea or guilty or no contest will not be accepted until the defendant has voluntarily and with full knowledge of the defendant’s rights, executed a waiver of the defendant’s right to trial by jury. If not represented by an attorney, the waiver shall include a waiver of defendant’s right to consult with and be represented by an attorney.

In cases where a guilty or no contest plea is entered, the judge will consider any statements by the defendant and impose the appropriate fine and costs or defer or continue sentencing under such terms and conditions as the Court may set. Where a not guilty plea is entered a cash trial bond will be set and a trial date scheduled. The defendant will be required to post the cash bond prior to leaving the court. If the defendant does not post the trial bond, the matter will not be set for trial. Where deemed advisable, the Court may also set the matter for a Pre-trial hearing or conference.

Alternatively, no plea will be accepted and the matter will be set on a disposition docket for the purpose of exploring with the prosecutor a negotiated plea by the defendant. If such efforts are not successful, the matter shall be set for trial. If successful, the matter will be completed or otherwise disposed of under the terms of a negotiated plea. All fines, costs and fees are payable at the time a negotiated plea is entered.

In instances where a defendant claims to be financially unable to post the required bond, the Court will conduct a hearing and if the Court finds that the defendant is financially unable to post the required bond, the Court may waive posting of bond and set the case for trial and release the defendant on an own recognizance bond or continue the arraignment to the trial date.

RULE NO. 6

JUVENILE COURT RECORDS AND PROCEDURES

All municipal arrest records, prosecution records, court records and court proceeding for cases involving children less than eighteen years of age charged with violating municipal ordinances relating to one or more of the offenses listed in 10 O.S.ş1102 (E)(1) shall be kept confidential and shall not be open to public inspection.

All such Juvenile Court proceedings shall be kept confidential and the Municipal Courtroom shall not be open to the general public and only the following parties will be permitted in the courtroom while the Juvenile Court is in session:

1. The juvenile;
2. The parents or guardian of the juvenile;
3. Attorney(s) representing the juvenile or parents;
4. Alleged victims of the juvenile’s actions or conduct;
5. Bethany City Attorney or his designee;
6. Municipal Court personnel; and
7. Other person having a direct interest in the juvenile’s case.

RULE NO. 7

REDUCTION OF FINE

After due consideration, the Municipal Court adopts the following rules, policies and procedures:

1. The Municipal Judge authorizes the Municipal Court Clerk and all Deputy Court Clerks to reduce fines upon proof of compliance on certain offenses for defendants in Bethany Municipal Court. These orders by the Municipal Court Clerk and all Deputy Court Clerks shall have the same force and effect as if ordered and directed by the Municipal Judge.
2. The Court has attached a copy of the fine reduction order form, marked Exhibit “A”, and it is incorporated herein by reference.
3. The attached reductions in fines apply on all citations issued on or after December 7, 2006.