Adult Defendants

Bench Trial Procedures

This information is designed to assist adult defendants who choose to represent themselves in a trial to the court in Erie Municipal Court. It is a general overview of trial procedures. It by no means covers all situations that may arise during the course of a court trial. It is intended to assist in the preparation and orderly presentation of evidence at the court trial.


Your case will be called by the judge and the judge will inquire if you are ready to proceed to trial. If you have any witnesses that you feel will be necessary to testify at the trial, you will be required to have them in attendance. If a potential witness advises you that they are unavailable, you may subpoena them to your trial.

You must obtain a subpoena, issued by the court, well in advance of your trial date and have your witness served at least 48 hours prior to your time of trial by another person who is not a party to your case and is over the age of 18 years. You must then file a return of service with the court showing that your witness was personally served.