Municipal Court Judge, Christopher Espy
The mission of the City of Yazoo City Municipal Court, as an independent and impartial branch of city government, is to promote respect for law, society and individual rights; provide open, accessible and effective forums for dispute resolution; resolve legal matters in a just, efficient and timely manner; and assure the dignified and fair treatment of all parties.
The City of Yazoo City Municipal Court is a court of limited jurisdiction hearing the following cases:
traffic offenses and misdemeanor criminal violations that occur within the city limits.
Information about the Court
Did you know that Mississippi law allows you to prepay a traffic ticket prior to the court date? The back of your ticket has more information about this process. Should you prepay, there is no need to report to court. This is allowable only for tickets given at the scene without a formal arrest. Some traffic violations require a formal arrest and booking and attendance at arraignment is mandatory.
Protection orders are now available through Municipal Court for victims of domestic violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may contact the court for more information. These orders are only valid for a short time period, and you must obtain long-term orders through Chancery Court or County Court.
For assistance please contact:
City of Yazoo City Municipal Court
Office Location: Police Department, 305 Mike Espy Drive, Yazoo City, MS 39194
Phone: 662-314-1013 or 662-314-1014 • Fax: 662-746-1568
Municipal Court only has jurisdiction over matters that occur within the city limits. If you know that an incident occurred in the county, you will need to speak to the Sheriff’s Department or Justice Court at (662) 746-5611 or (662) 746-8181.
- What happens if I miss my trial date for a criminal charge?
If a court date is missed with proper notice of trial, the trial will go forth in your absence.
- What happens if I missed my court date for a traffic ticket?
If a court date is missed on a traffic citation, you will have 10 business days to pay. If not paid the court will send a notice in writing which will be mailed to you. If the defendant does not adhere to the notice, the suspension process will go forth with a possible warrant for arrest.
- Can I reschedule / continue my court date?
Your case will be heard as scheduled unless you can provide written documentation as to why you could not make your court date as scheduled. This documentation will need to be provided at least 24 hours before the date of your trial for review. If you do not receive resolution on your court date, you will need to contact the court services at 662-314-1013 or 662-314-1014.
- Do I need to be in court the day I am scheduled?
If you were given a court date and time, you will need to either appear and enter a plea or pay the ticket (if applicable) prior to court. If you do not appear, you are subject to being found guilty in your absence and/or having a warrant issued for your arrest (in the case of criminal charges and traffic offenses with an arrest).
- Can I represent myself?
According to state statute, you may represent yourself. You have the right to introduce evidence, examine and cross examine witnesses, make a closing argument, and otherwise present a defense to the charges. You will be held to the same standards as an attorney.
- What is the procedure for entering a plea to a criminal charge?
There are 3 possible pleas to a criminal charge:
Not Guilty – You deny guilt and the city must prove the criminal charge against you.
Guilty – You admit you committed the act(s) charged.
No Contest (Nolo Contendere) – You neither admit guilt or deny it and are prepared to move forward with sentencing.
- Can I appear earlier than my trial date and time and speak with the Judge?
No, you may not appear earlier to speak with the Judge. The Municipal Court Judge will only speak with defendants on the appointed court date in open court.
- What type of payments do you accept?
We accept cash, cashier’s checks, or money orders. Cashier’s checks and money orders need to be payable to the City of Yazoo City Municipal Court.
- Can I pay my ticket and still plead not guilty?
Payment indicates a guilty plea and forfeiture of fine monies. Appearing on your court date gives you the opportunity to ask for a reduction in fines or plead not guilty.
- Why do I have to pay court costs when I didn’t go to court?
Court costs are assigned to the particular charge you were given – not according to your court appearance – and are for the operation of the court.
- Can I speak with the Judge about my case?
Speaking with the Judge about your case outside of open court is defined as ex-parte communication. Judges are strictly prohibited from engaging in ex-parte communication as dictated by the Judicial Cannons of Ethics. This communication includes emails, text messages, phone calls and personal contact. Therefore, any communication with the Judge concerning a matter that is before the court or any matter that will be before the court may only occur in open court in front of the bench with all parties present.
DRESS CODE FOR COURTROOM
- NO MUSCLE SHIRTS, TANK TOPS, OR HALTER TOPS
- ALL SHORTS MUST APPROACH THE KNEE
- ALL SKIRTS AND DRESSES MUSTAPPROACH THE KNEE
- NO HATS OR HEAD SCARVES
- ALL SHIRTS MUST BE TUCKED IN OR APPROPRIATELY FITTED
- PANTS MUST BE SECURED AT THE WAIST
- NO TORN OR TATTERED CLOTHING
***If you do not comply with this dress code you may be removed from the courtroom or denied entry.
***This dress code applies to everyone.
RULES OF THE COURTROOM
- NO CELL PHONES (exceptions may be made for attorneys)
- NO CAMERAS OR RECORDING DEVICES OF ANY KIND
- JACKETS MUST BE REMOVED BEFORE APPROACHING THE JUDGE (exception may be made for attorneys)
- YOU MUST FOLLOW ALL DIRECTIONS AND INSTRUCTION OF LAW ENFORCEMENT AT ALL TIMES
- ALL NOISE MUST BE KEPT TO A MINIMUM
***If you do not comply with these rules you may be held in contempt of court. If found to be in contempt of court a fine not more than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) or six (6) months imprisonment, or both, may be imposed.
Other Court Information
The first appearance in Municipal Court is called an arraignment. At this time you will be called upon to enter a plea (or answer) to the charge levied against you.
You may plead guilty indicating that you admit you committed the offense and wish to waive your right to a trial; no contest indicating that you do not admit the charge but do NOT wish to contest the charge; or not guilty indicating to the court that you wish to contest the charge and are exercising your right to a trial.
Should you plead guilty or no contest the case will proceed immediately to the sentencing phase.
You are still permitted to appeal your case to Circuit/County Court should you so desire. Should you plead not guilty you will receive a trial date at some point in the near future.
Court dates are always on Wednesdays. Your ticket or bond will indicate the actual date and the time of day you are to appear.
In municipal courts in this state, trials are by judge only. You may be represented by an attorney authorized to practice in this state or you may represent yourself. We have a public defender on staff for your use.
If you choose to represent yourself, you must conform to all rules of court including rules of evidence. No court may lessen this requirement simply because you are not legally trained. In a trial you are also entitled to certain rights, including:
- Right to a copy of the affidavit.
- Right to hear all testimony against you.
- Right to cross examine witnesses against you.
- Right to testify on your own behalf.
- Right to decline to testify without any inference drawn against you.
- Right to call witnesses on your own behalf. Should you need to subpoena witnesses the clerk will issuethis if you provide a list of the witnesses in writing and their addresses at least 10 days prior to the trial. You are required to have the subpoena(s) served and brought back to the court the day before the trial.
Should you fail to appear for trial these rights are waived and the case may be tried without you (trial in absence) .
Payment of Fines
Fines/costs are due in full on the day of assessment. This will be either the day you plead guilty or the day you may be found guilty. There is never a fine when you are found not guilty.
Tickets must be paid in full so the outcome can be reported immediately to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.
Fine Schedule can be found here.
All payments can be mailed to the following address:
City of Yazoo City
305 Mike Espy Drive
Yazoo City, MS 39194
Larger misdemeanor fines may be paid according to a payment plan but only after an initial payment is made. The initial payment shall be a minimum $25.00 and is due on the date of assessment. NOTE: Payment plan request must be made and signed in person by the defendant. Remember that release on a payment plan is a privilege afforded by the Court and a violation of the payment order will result in your immediate arrest.
Mississippi law allows the Court to send an offender to driving school under certain conditions to keep the offense off your driving record.
This provides that the violation is not subject to public view and is allowed under the following conditions: (1) that you possess a valid Mississippi Driver’s License; (2) that you have had no conviction for a moving violation in this state or any other state within the last three years or have already attended Driving School with in the last three years; (3) that you pay the applicable fine; (4) That you pay an additional service fee of $10; and (5) that you attend a four hour traffic safety violator course approved by the court.
Upon Completion of the Class
Once the four-hour class has been completed, the instructor will issue a certificate that can be mailed or brought to the Court Office:
City of Yazoo City
305 Mike Espy Drive
Yazoo City, MS 39194
Once the certificate has been received by the Court Office, the ticket will be dismissed (in the youth’s case) or not reported to the State (in the adult’s case).
The City of Yazoo City Municipal Court also offers a Community Public Work Program that allows you to work your fines/costs off at a set rate. The Judge may order you to mandatory community service. If order the set rate will not apply until your time has been completed.
NOTE: Court ordered Restitution cannot be worked off. All Restitution must be paid by MONEY ORDER payable to the person awarded the restitution and given to the court clerk within the time frame allotted by the Judge.