Court Process & Hearings

Court Process

Under Kansas Law, a person can be brought to trial only after a complaint or traffic citation has been filed. The complaint or citation is a document that outlines what the person is charged with, and states that the action is unlawful. The person being charged is referred to as the defendant.  As a defendant, you have a right to inspect the complaint or citation before trial and have it read to you.

There are no jury trials held in Emporia. A judge conducts all trials under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Code of Municipal Courts, the Kansas Rules of Evidence, and the Code of the City of Emporia, Kansas.

Court Appearance

When you receive a citation, it will notify you whether or not your appearance is required in court.  Some citations can be paid in advance.  Other citations require a personal appearance from the defendant or their attorney.

Effective January 9, 2024, the Emporia Municipal Court will be offering a walk-in docket as a courtesy for unrepresented defendants. This is an in-person docket and will be held each Tuesday when the court is in session from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Any defendant that wishes to be seen by the Judge will need to be signed in with the Clerk’s Office no later than 9:45 a.m. that day. The docket will be limited to the first 15 defendants that are signed in and will be on a first come, first serve basis.

At the walk-in docket you may:

  • Speak with the Judge to address warrants.
  • Speak with the Judge to modify payment agreements.
  • Request an advancement or continuance of a court date.

The following will not be heard by the Judge during the walk-in docket:

  • Arraignments
  • Expungement requests
  • Diversion questions
  • Pretrial hearings
  • Plea hearings
  • Revocation hearings
  • Trials
  • Sentencings

If you have any questions, please contact the Emporia Municipal Court at 620-343-5666.

Right to an Attorney

Every accused person has the right to be represented by an attorney in the Emporia Municipal Court. Defendants also have the right to represent themselves without an attorney. In cases involving a potential jail sentence, a waiver of counsel form must be signed before a defendant can represent him or herself. Court appointed attorneys are not an automatic right for all accused persons facing charges in Emporia Municipal Court. Defendants seeking a court appointed attorney or public defender must meet certain legal conditions and financial guidelines established under law and by the Court before a public defender can be appointed. Only a judge can make the determination of whether an accused is to receive a court appointed attorney.


There are various hearing types that may or may not be part of your case.  Hearing types are specified near the top of the court sheet given at your court appearances.  If you lose a court sheet, you can always request a copy or information about your next court date from the Court Clerk's Office.  Hearing types are described below.

Arraignment is typically the first hearing in a municipal court case.  At arraignment, your charges will be read to you, and you will be given an opportunity to enter a plea.

You may enter a plea of:

Guilty:  You admit to committing the offense charged. The judge will enter a finding of guilty and impose sentence.

Not guilty: You disagree with the charges, deny guilt, and request a trial.  Your case will be scheduled for a trial or pretrial hearing.

No contest: You do not admit guilty but you do not wish to contest the city’s charge. Upon a plea of no contest, the judge will enter a finding of guilty and impose a sentence. A plea of no contest is not an admission of fault and cannot be used against you in a civil suit for damages.

Other options at arraignment: Your case may be eligible for diversion.  The prosecutor will explain the diversion program at the beginning of the arraignment docket and give defendants an opportunity to apply for the program.