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What to Expect at Trial

The trial is your day in court.

The trial is your day in court - your opportunity to present your claim, defense, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim. Both you and the other party will have an opportunity to present your case and your evidence to the court.

Bring your evidence and witnesses with you.
Bring enough copies of the evidence you wish to present so that you, the opposing party, and the magistrate each have a copy. Witnesses must appear in person.

The plaintiff goes first.
The magistrate will ask the plaintiff to give his, her, or its version of the case. After the plaintiff has presented evidence, the defendant may ask the plaintiff questions. The defendant may also ask questions to any witnesses the plaintiff calls.

After the plaintiff is finished, the magistrate will ask the defendant for his, her, or its version of the case.
After the defendant has presented evidence, the plaintiff may ask questions of the defendant and any witness called by the defendant.

After hearing both sides, the magistrate will make his or her decision.
The parties will receive the magistrate’s decision in the mail. For more information, see Judgment.


Be on time to your hearing. If you are late or absent, the case may be dismissed or the Court may rule against you.

Yes. If you cannot make it to court on your trial date, you may request a continuance. There is a filing fee to request a continuance. A continuance reschedules the trial to a future date. The plaintiff or the defendant may request a continuance. A continuance is not automatic. If the judge does not grant the continuance in writing, the trial will proceed as originally scheduled. You must deliver the written request for a continuance to the court at least five (5) business days before the date of your trial. Requests made with less than five (5) business days before your trial may not be considered.

If you do not file your request at least five (5) business days before the trial date, you must go to court on the trial date and make your request to the Court. Generally, on the day of trial, the Court will grant a request to reschedule a case only in exceptional circumstances.