A bench trial is a trial in which the judge alone determines whether the Town has proven you guilty.
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You may have either a bench trial or a jury trial.
You have the right to a trial by jury. However, you must demand a jury trial at your first court appearance. You will also be required to pay a jury fee in court at the first appearance date. The jury fee is non-refundable and is in addition to any fines or assessments that may be ordered if you are found guilty.
The Town will present its case. You will have the opportunity to question any witness(es) testifying against you. You may then testify on your own behalf and present evidence and witness(es) to support your case. The Town will question your witness(es). The judge (or jury) will weigh the evidence presented by both parties and determine whether you should be found guilty or not guilty.
No one can say with certainty whether you will win or lose your case. Your chances of being successful in court depend on the strength of the testimony and evidence against you and the evidence you present on your own behalf. Unlike a criminal case, the Town does not need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but only by a preponderance of the evidence.
You will be found not guilty and no fine or court assessments (costs) will be imposed against you.
You will be ordered to pay a fine and court assessments (costs). The fine is set by the judge and may be more or less than that offered as a settlement prior to the trial. The Town’s and court’s records will also reflect that you received an ordinance violation conviction. If you are found guilty of unlawful consumption of alcohol or unlawful possession of alcohol, your driver's license will be suspended by the State of Illinois.
The judge will order the fine and assessments (costs) be paid by a certain date or by installments. Your personal financial circumstances will factor into the amount of time and/or the size of the installment payments you are ordered to make.