Misdemeanor Charges

The Jefferson County District Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor crimes. Gross misdemeanor crimes carry a maximum penalty of 1 year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine; misdemeanors are subject to a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. The most common criminal charges include Domestic Violence charges, Assaults and Thefts. Criminal traffic charges like Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and Driving While License Suspended are also filed into this Court.

Charged With a Crime

If you have been charged with a crime and were not booked into the Jefferson County Jail, your appearance date should be noted on the citation you received from the officer directly above your signature. If you were booked into jail and have bailed out, you should have received a court date from the corrections officer at the jail. You must appear in Court at the time and date given or a warrant for your arrest may issue. Court hearings begin promptly at the time indicated on your notice. If you are late, your case may not be heard on that date. There are often a number of cases scheduled on the date you are to appear. Please remain in the courtroom until your case is called or you may have to wait till the end of the docket.


Your first appearance in Court will be for an arraignment. At the arraignment hearing, you will be informed of your rights by the judge, you will be informed of the charge and the maximum jail term and/or fine that can be imposed, you will be asked to state your name and your mailing address, you will be asked whether you want to be represented by an attorney, and you will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. You will be asked to sign a form which sets forth your rights and indicates you have been informed of them. By signing the form, you are not waiving, i.e. giving up any of your rights.

You do not necessarily need an attorney at arraignment. If you do not wish to plead guilty and think you qualify for a public defender you may ask for one at the arraignment hearing, or you may come into the office anytime before the hearing to complete a Determination of Indigency form. The Determination of Indigence form requires you to provide information regarding your financial situation and that you will need to provide proof of income or your current financial situation. That information is confidential. If approved, an attorney from the Jefferson Associated Counsel will be appointed and sent all the information on your case. You will be provided with your attorney's address and phone number. It will be up to you to contact your attorney, they will not contact you. If your application is denied, you will need to retain your own attorney at your own expense. Jefferson Associated Counsel appears at all arraignment calendars to stand in as legal counsel for those who do not yet have an attorney.
At arraignment following a plea of not guilty, the Court will generally impose conditions of release. Depending on the seriousness of the alleged offense, you may be ordered to refrain from contacting the alleged victim, prohibited from possessing alcohol or dangerous weapons, or restricted from traveling outside the State. You will be provided with a copy of a written order imposing conditions of release. A date will be set for a pretrial hearing approximately 40 days after your arraignment. The purpose of a pretrial hearing is to review the status of the case and determine whether it is ready to be set for trial.

Continuing an Arraignment

If you are not represented by an attorney and need to continue an arraignment hearing you must call the Court. You cannot continue a hearing over email. Have your name, case number and the date of your hearing ready. Clerks are authorized to continue arraignment hearings only for good cause and may have to deny your request when asked. If you have an attorney, do not contact the Court. Contact your attorney and he/she will contact the Court.