Presentation on theme: "Oberlin Municipal Court YOUR RIGHTS IN COURT. To us this may be just another day at the office. For the participants it is perhaps the single most important."— Presentation transcript:
Oberlin Municipal Court YOUR RIGHTS IN COURT
To us this may be just another day at the office. For the participants it is perhaps the single most important event in their life. Endeavor to treat every case with the utmost care and attention whether a simple traffic violation or a serious allegation of wrongdoing, whether a small claim or a claim for the maximum monetary jurisdiction of this Court. Thomas A. Januzzi, Judge Oberlin Municipal Court
The Arraignment What is an arraignment? It is the first step in a criminal or traffic prosecution where the accused appears to be informed of the charges and enter a plea
The Charge or Charges Am I entitled to a copy of the charge or charges? Yes. You should have received a copy of the charge or charges from the police officer. The charge or charges would be either a ticket or a complaint or an affidavit. If you did not receive a copy of the charge or charges inform a staff member when you arrive at court
The Pleas What are my options? How should I plead? There are three pleas that you can make: (a) Not Guilty (b) Guilty (c) No Contest
Not Guilty Not guilty (a) Is a denial of the charge; and (b) Protects your rights
You should plead NOT GUILTY if: 1. You believe you have a defense to the charge; 2. You wish to speak to an attorney; 3. You are not sure how you wish to plead; 4. You believe it would unfair to be convicted of the charge against you
A plea of Not Guilty is never held against you A Plea of Not Guilty protects your rights
We all have a big bundle of rights
Right to Counsel The law provides that if a person is charged with an offense that has jail as a possible penalty that the person is entitled to be represented by an attorney of his/her own choice or an attorney at the expense of the State if the person cannot afford an attorney
Do I need an attorney? If a charge against you has jail as a possible penalty you should have an attorney represent you. Although you have the right to represent yourself – it may not be wise to do so.
Even if I think I am guilty should I have an attorney represent me? Once again, if jail is a possible penalty you should have an attorney represent you. The attorney is a trained professional and can help you decide what is in your best interests. The attorney will know if you have any legal defenses and can speak on your behalf on what the punishment should be even if you are found guilty.
Who determines if I cannot afford an attorney ? Guidelines are published every year by the Ohio Public Defenders Office. There are two ways to qualify: (a) The Ohio Public Defender has guidelines based on household size and income. If you are equal to or under the income guidelines for your household size – you qualify; (b) You may still qualify if your expenses exceed your income – even if you exceed the income guidelines. Ask the Judge or a court staff member for an application. You will be required to state your income and expenses under oath in order for the Judge to consider appointing an attorney to represent you. State law also now requires that you pay a fee of $25.00 to apply for a court appointed attorney. This fee is forwarded to the Ohio Public Defender to defray the costs of the operation of the Ohio Public Defenders office. If you cannot even afford the $25.00 you can file a request to waive the application fee.
Right to a Trial by Jury or Trial by Judge The law provides if the crime has jail as a possible penalty that we have the right to have a trial by jury.
Demand for Jury Trial If you want a jury trial you have to make a written demand and file it with the clerk at least 10 days prior to the date set for trial. [If the possible jail sentence is more than 180 days you do not need to make a written demand – you will have a jury trial unless you sign a written waiver of the right to a jury trial) [If the possible jail sentence is more than 180 days you do not need to make a written demand – you will have a jury trial unless you sign a written waiver of the right to a jury trial)
Right to Subpoena Witnesses If there is a witness in your case that does not want to get involved you can ask the Judge to order the person to appear at your trial. This is called a subpoena.
Right to Cross Examine Witnesses We have the Constitutional right to confront witnesses against us. This is done through cross- examination of the witness
Right to Remain Silent We have the right to remain silent at the trial. It is not our duty to prove our innocence. The jury is instructed that we do not have to testify.
Right to have the State prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt We are presumed innocent by the law. The Prosecutor must prove us guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not our duty to prove ourselves innocent.
What happens next if I plead not guilty? Will my case be finished today? If you plead not guilty – your case will not be finished today. Your case will either be scheduled for a trial or a pretrial.
What is the difference between a trial and a pretrial? A trial is what you think it is. Witnesses testify, evidence is presented – you must be prepared to defend yourself that day because that is the day it will be determined if you are guilty or not guilty.
Then what is a pretrial? A pretrial is an informal meeting between you – or your attorney – with the prosecutor. Information is exchanged and a discussion is had to see if the case can be finished without the need for a trial.
Can I still have a trial if I request a pretrial? Yes. By asking for a pretrial you do not give up your right to a trial. Your attorney will obtain copies of police reports and witness statements and discuss with you your options. If no agreement is reached you will have a trial.
What about my right to a speedy trial? You have a right to speedy trial. But in order to have a Pretrial you must agree to extend the time that the law otherwise would require the trial to be scheduled. You will be asked to sign a Time Waiver You have a right to speedy trial. But in order to have a Pretrial you must agree to extend the time that the law otherwise would require the trial to be scheduled. You will be asked to sign a Time Waiver Time Waiver I hereby waive the time limits provided by law for scheduling this case for trial or hearing - for my convenience and/or to permit me or my attorney time to prepare for the case or to discuss this matter with the prosecutor.
PLEA OF GUILTY A plea of Guilty is a complete admission of Guilt. When you plead guilty you are giving up your opportunity to use your big bundle of rights including your right to have an attorney represent you.
What will happen if I plead Guilty? If you plead guilty 99.9% of the time you will be found guilty. The only decision left for the Judge will be to impose a penalty.
How do I know the possible penalty? Depending on the type of crime the penalty could be a fine, community service, probation, restitution, license suspension, vehicle immobilization or forfeiture, jail or a combination of any of these. The Judge will tell you the possible penalty before you enter your plea. If you do not know – it is O.K. to ask the Judge
Penalties for most misdemeanor crimes DegreeFineJailLicenseSuspension Community Service 1 st Degree $0-1, days Depends on the crime hours 2 nd Degree $ days Depends on the crime hours 3 rd Degree $ days Depends on the crime hours 4 th Degree $ days Depends on the crime hours Minor Misdemeanor $ NONE Depends on crime NONE Unclassified$0-1,000.00NONE hours
Misdemeanor - OVI Penalties No. and Type of Offense JailFine License Suspension Vehicle Sanction 1st in 6 years 3 days jail or DIP up to 6 months jail $ $1, months – 3 years No privileges for 15 days None 1 st in 6 years and either high tier alcohol or refusal w/ prior offense in 20 years 6 days jail or DIP and 3 days jail up to 6 months jail $ $1, months – 3 years Must have restricted plates No privileges for 15 days None 2 nd in 6 years 10 days jail up to 6 months jail $ $1, year – 5 years No privileges for 45 days Restricted Plates and Ignition Interlock required Vehicle immobilization and plate impoundment for 90 days 2 nd in 6 years and either high tier alcohol or refusal w/ prior offense in 20 years 20 days jail up to 6 months jail $ $1, year – 5 years No privileges for 45 days Restricted Plates and Ignition Interlock required Vehicle immobilization and plate impoundment for 90 days 3 rd in 6 years 30 days jail up to one year $ $2, years – 10 years No privileges for 180 days Restricted Plates and Ignition Interlock required Vehicle forfeiture 3 rd in 6 years and either high tier alcohol or refusal w/ prior offense in 20 years 60 days jail up to one year $ $2, years – 10 years No privileges for 180 days Restricted Plates and Ignition Interlock required Vehicle forfeiture
The No Contest Plea No contest means you do not contest, you do not dispute, you do not disagree with the information in the ticket or complaint – for this case only. You agree to allow the Judge to make a decision if you are guilty or not guilty based on the information and facts in the ticket or the complaint COMPLAINT State of Ohio No. __________ /City of Columbus/ v. COMPLAINT __[name]__ (Rule 4) __[address]__ Complainant being duly sworn states that C.D. [defendant] at __[place]__, County, Ohio on or about__________, 19___, __[state the essential facts]__ in violation of __[state the numerical designation of the applicable statute or ordinance]__. ______________________________________________ Complainant Sworn to and subscribed before me by ____________________ on __________, 19___. ____________________________________________ _____ Judge/Clerk/Deputy Clerk/ [or] _________________________________________________ Notary Public, My Commission expires __________, 19___
The No Contest Plea cannot be used against you in another civil or criminal proceeding For example, if you were involved in an automobile collision and want to finish this case (the charge in the ticket or complaint) but you or your insurance company wants to defend or fight the civil case (the case where a person is seeking money from you or your insurance company or wants to sue you) the no contest plea cannot be used against you in that case – but a Guilty plea could be used against you in the other case.
You should plea No Contest if you want to finish this case but want to protect your right to defend yourself in the other case
Do I have to pay my fine and costs today? Should I plead not guilty if I cannot pay my fine and costs? If you cannot pay your fine and costs today you will be given time to pay. If you need more than 60 days to pay your fine and costs you may be placed on a payment plan and a fee may be assessed for the payment plan.
FELONY RIGHTS If you are charged with a felony the procedure is different than if you are charged with only misdemeanors. If you are charged with a felony your case cannot be completed in the Municipal Court unless the charge is amended or changed to a misdemeanor by the prosecutor with the approval of the Judge.
If you are charged with a felony your case will be scheduled for a Preliminary Hearing A person charged with a felony must have a hearing within 10 days if in jail and 15 days if not in jail to determine if there is enough evidence to continue the case as a felony. The hearing is also called a probable cause hearing.
What happens after the hearing? If probable cause that a felony was committed is found then the case is transferred to the felony court – the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas – where the case will be heard by the Grand Jury to decide whether to continue the charge or some other charge. If probable cause is not found that a felony was committed the case is either dismissed or the case remains at the Municipal Court as a misdemeanor charge and another hearing will be scheduled by the court.
What are my rights at the hearing? You have the right to remain silent – anything you say can be used against you – and you should not say anything until you have had a chance to speak to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney the Judge will appoint one to represent you – if you qualify.
The Prosecutor must prove that it is more likely than not that a felony was committed and that you committed a felony The purpose of the preliminary hearing is not to determine if you are guilty or not guilty but to determine if there is probable cause – more likely than not – that a felony was committed.
What about bond? Am I entitled to bond? In any case you are entitled to a reasonable bond. There are two parts to the bond. 1. The Judge must determine the amount of the bond that will satisfy the Judge that you will appear for your court appearances; and 2. The Judge must determine whether you have to follow any rules as a condition of your release or continued release.
How is the amount of the bond determined? The law requires that the Judge consider factors in determining the amount of the bond. The factors include The law requires that the Judge consider factors in determining the amount of the bond. The factors include 1. The nature and circumstances of the crime 2. The weight of the evidence 3. The confirmation of the identity of the accused 4. Family ties, employment, financial resources, character, mental condition, length of residence, record of convictions, record of appearances at court proceedings 5. Whether the accused is on probation or parole or another community control sanction or under a court protection order
What authority does the Judge have to give me rules to follow if I have not been convicted of anything yet? Am I not presumed innocent ? In 1997 the Ohio Constitution was changed so that in the State of Ohio we no longer have just appearance bonds. The Ohio Supreme Court adopted a rule on July 1, The rule provides that the Judge must consider the factors for setting both the amount of bond and any conditions of the bond. You are still presumed innocent but the Judge may give you rules to follow as a condition of bond if the Judge determines the conditions are necessary to ensure appearance or public safety.
What are the rules [conditions] that the Judge can order ? Criminal Rule 46(B) lists the possible rules. They include Criminal Rule 46(B) lists the possible rules. They include 1. Placing the person in the custody of another person or organization; 2. Placing restrictions on travel, association or place of residence; 3. Placing the person under house arrest or electronic monitoring; 4. Ordering the person to have no contact with the alleged victim or other persons including potential witnesses; 5. Requiring a person to attend alcohol treatment; 6. Any other constitutional condition reasonable necessary to ensure appearance or public safety
What happens if the Judge gives me rules [conditions] and I dont follow them? If you fail to appear for court or dont follow the rules a warrant may be issued for your arrest and/or your bond changed or revoked depending on the violation. WARRANT
Questions? If you have any other questions about your rights – its O.K. to ask the Judge or a staff member. It is important that you understand your rights before you make your plea