Why am I being subpoenaed as a victim/witness in a traffic case?
When a traffic accident occurs in the City of Wichita and an officer determines that a law has been broken, a citation is issued. One or more parties of the accident can receive ticket. If the defendant(s) choose to exercise their constitutional right to fight the ticket, you will be notified of a court date. This means that the defendant believes that he/she has a defense to the ticket and would like to be heard in court. In these situations, all parties involved will be subpoenaed to court to tell what they were a witness to, and the judge makes a decision on the defendant’s guilt or innocence. Just because a case has been set for trial, it does not mean the defendant will ultimately choose to have a trial, as cases may be continued for a variety of reasons, the defendant may elect to plead guilty or no contest, or a plea agreement may be reached on the case, so it is important to contact the Victim’s Advocate prior to the court date to determine whether you are needed on the date in question.
What should I do to prepare for a Traffic Court date?
Contact your Victim/Witness Advocate 2-3 days before the court date. Many times cases are continued and your advocate can verify if the case is still going or whether your personal appearance in court is required.
KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS! While the Municipal Court is a criminal court and therefore limited to the amount of restitution it can award a victim, if documentation is provided, the Prosecutor assigned to the case will ask the judge to make restitution part of the sentencing. The Prosecutor’s Office can never guarantee a judge will order the restitution, but if we have it, we will show the documentation and ask. Restitution is limited to the out of pocket expenses you incurred as a result of this accident. If damages in the case exceed, or are not of the type typically ordered in Municipal Court, you still retain your rights to pursue a civil action against the other party for those claims through Sedgwick County District Court.