It is this court’s firm belief that the interests of justice are best served when all parties to a proceeding are fully informed. It has been this court’s experience that many defendants who appear for trial feel unprepared for the formality of the proceedings.
This information is not meant to constitute legal advice. It has been prepared to clear up the most commonly held misconceptions about trial procedure and answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
A trial is a proceeding in which the Prosecutor for the City of Dublin will try to convince the court that you have committed the violation with which you have been charged. The prosecutor is required to prove your guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no jury.
Trial Day Procedure
You must check in at your scheduled time. If you fail to appear you may be assessed further court costs and a warrant for your arrest may be issued.
After check in, your case will be placed on the list of cases to be heard that day. Please be prepared to spend a few hours at court. While the court makes every effort to move its docket expeditiously, it has no way to accurately predict the length of each individual trial.
There are specific rules about the kinds of evidence the court may consider and the manner in which the court can receive that evidence. They are contained in the Ohio Rules of Evidence. These rules can be complicated. The following, however, are some very basic parameters that may assist you:
- Generally a person may testify to facts about which she or he has firsthand knowledge. In other words, they can testify about things they actually saw or heard.
- You may, but are not required to, take the stand and testify on your own behalf. If you do so without a lawyer you do not have to ask yourself questions but may testify in narrative form. If you do choose to take the stand, the Prosecutor will be allowed to ask you questions regarding your testimony.
- If you want to use a photograph or other physical evidence (such as a document) you must fully identify the object introduced and tell the court how and when you obtained it. You must supply the court with enough information to determine whether that evidence is what it purports to be and that it accurately represents what it claims to depict.
- The court may refuse to hear certain testimony or review certain physical evidence based upon the Rules of Evidence. While the court will generally explain the reason for its refusal it will be impossible for the court to fully apprise you of the sum and substance of the evidentiary rules at trial.
Sequence of Trial
Both the prosecution and the defendant will have an opportunity to present their case to the court. The prosecution presents its case first. Normally, it will call at least one witness. That witness is usually the officer who gave the citation. You will be given the opportunity to ask the prosecution’s witnesses questions once the prosecutor has finished questioning the witness.
After the prosecution rests its case the defendant is given an opportunity to put his or her case on. The defendant may, or may not, testify on his or her own behalf. On occasion, defendants have other witnesses as well. Remember, this will be your only opportunity to present your side of the story so you must bring all of the witnesses or the other evidence you want to show to the court on the day of trial.
Once you or any of your witnesses have completed their testimony the prosecutor will cross-examine that individual. After you have finished presenting your case the court will render a judgment.
Court costs cannot be waived if a person is found guilty, unless the court makes a determination that the person indigent.
There may be additional costs incurred for subpoena fees, continuance fees, etc. These fees are in addition to standard costs.
Answers to Common Questions
Do I need to have an attorney represent me?
You may have an attorney represent you at the trial if you wish but you are not required to have one.
Can I bring statements from witnesses to present to the court?
The court will not consider affidavits or other written statements in lieu of a witness’ appearance at trial. If you want the court to hear from a witness he or she must be present.
How do I get a witness to come to court?
If you want a witness to come to court and they will not come willingly, you must ask the court to issue a subpoena. This request must be in writing at least three weeks prior to your court date. There is a fee for each subpoena issued.
Can I ask the City for certain information that I will need for trial?
If you think that the City of Dublin has certain information in its possession that you will need to use at trial, you must make a discovery request for that information under Rule 16 of the Criminal Rules of Procedure prior to trial. Details of Rule 16 may be found at the Supreme Court of Ohio website: www.sconet.state.oh.us.
What if I cannot come to court on the day scheduled for trial?
If you cannot appear on the day scheduled for trial you must file a request for continuance at least 7 days prior to the trial date. However, you must appear for the scheduled trial date if the court does not grant your request.
Mayor’s Court Plea Descriptions
Tickets Not Requiring Court Appearance
Most Minor Misdemeanor and Fourth Degree Misdemeanor traffic charges have the option of paying a fine instead of going to Court. Examples of offenses include speeding less than 21 miles and hour over the posted speed limit and driving on or in the berm. To find out the amount of fines and costs, please call the Division of Court Services. Fines can be paid prior to the Arraignment Hearing by admitting guilt and paying the total amount of fines and costs listed.
Tickets Requiring Court Appearance
The remaining Minor Misdemeanor and Fourth Degree Misdemeanor charges, plus all Third, Second, and First Degree Misdemeanor charges require a Court appearance. Examples of offenses include operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated (OMVI) and driving under suspension.
Transfer of Case to Municipal Court
The Defendant has the right to have the case transferred to Municipal Court at any time by requesting a transfer in writing during the process before a plea has been entered. Possible reasons for the request may be to put the case before a jury, to obtain legal representation through the Public Defenders’ Office if the Defendant is declared indigent or to have the case heard in a “Court of Record.”
This serves as the first opportunity for the Defendant to see someone about his/her case. At this time, the Defendant will be allowed to enter a plea to the charges. All Defendants are advised of their rights to have an Attorney represent them, or they may chose to represent themselves. The right to representation by an Attorney may be used at any time during the process and at any hearings.
If a Defendant pleads not guilty at his/her Arraignment, a later date will be set for the trial. On Trial Night, the Prosecutor will present any evidence and call any witnesses to prove the case. The Defendant will then have an opportunity to present his/her own evidence and witnesses to prove that he/she is not guilty. All Defendants have the right to be represented by an Attorney at this and any subsequent hearings.
The plea of guilty is a complete admission of the Defendant’s guilt.
No Contest Plea
The plea of No Contest is not an admission of guilt, but is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the information or complaint, and such a plea of admission will not be used against the Defendant in any subsequent civil or criminal proceedings.
Not Guilty Plea
The plea of Not Guilty is a denial of legal guilt, and the case will be set for trial on a later date.
A summons is issued by the Court after the Defendant fails to appear at the initial Arraignment Night. It is a Court Order which requests the Defendant appear at a later Arraignment Night. As a result of the case going to summons, additional costs will be incurred.
If a Defendant fails to appear after a summons has been issued, a warrant for his/her arrest will be issued by the Court. This document allows the Division of Police to pick up the Defendant and place him/her in jail pending a Court Arraignment Hearing or until the proper amount of bond has been posted. More Court costs are assessed as a result of this warrant.
When an individual has been convicted of an offense, the Mayor will impose a sentence. The possible sanctions may include, but are not limited to jail time, fines and court costs, community service or a period of probation supervision.
- Marty Nobile – 614.559.7205
- Stephen Smith – 614.559.7258
Misdemeanor Maximum Penalties
Classification: First Degree (M-1)
Length of Imprisonment: 6 months
Maximum Fine: $1,000.00
Classification: Second Degree (M-2)
Length of Imprisonment: 90 days
Maximum Fine: $750.00
Classification: Third Degree (M-3)
Length of Imprisonment: 60 days
Maximum Fine: $500.00
Classification: Fourth Degree (M-4)
Length of Imprisonment: 30 days
Maximum Fine: $250.00
Classification: Minor (MM) (ORC 2929.21)
Length of Imprisonment: none
Maximum Fine: $150.00
Contact Mayor’s Court Personnel
Handles all of the court documents and money paid to the Court for fines and costs. The Clerk processes all warrants, summons, subpoenas, jury demands, continuances, and motions. The Clerk also notifies the Bureau of Motor Vehicles of all convictions, points and suspensions.
Criminal Justice Officer
Responsible for monitoring all cases assigned to probation supervision to ensure the court orders are enforced. Conducts all Presentence investigations and Expungement investigations for the Court. Also responsible for monitoring all adult and juvenile cases placed into the Diversion and Community Service programs.
Kristen Plieninger – 614.410-4910
Rule 1.1 Case Numbering
When filed with the Clerk’s office, cases will be categorized as traffic, criminal, or parking cases. Each category will be serially numbered on an annual basis beginning with January first of each year. The case number for each case will consist of the last two digits of the year / case type / case sub-types / case number. This system is in accordance with the Ohio Supreme Court Rule of Superintendence number 43.
Rule 1.2 Court Schedule
Court nights shall be normally scheduled for every Tuesday night as follows:
- Arraignments at 5 p.m.
- Pleas at 5:30 p.m.
- Trials at 6:30 p.m.
Pre-trials with the Prosecutor will be scheduled on an as-needed basis on Mondays at 2:30 p.m.
Vehicle Release Hearings and ALS Hearings will be scheduled on an as-needed basis on Tuesdays at 4:00 p.m.
Diversion Hearings will be scheduled with the Diversion Officer on an as-needed basis on Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m.
Prisoner Hearings will be schedule on an as needed basis according to the following schedule:
Date of Arrest
Friday after 7:00 a.m. through Monday at 7:00 a.m.
Arraignment Date and Time
Monday at 8:00 a.m.
Date of Arrest
Monday after 7:00 a.m. through Tuesday at 2:00 p.m.
Arraignment Date and Time
Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Date of Arrest
Tuesday after 2:00 p.m. through Friday at 7:00 a.m.
Arraignment Date and Time
Friday at 8:30 a.m.
The Court will publish the court schedule each December for the following year. The Mayor and the Director of Court Services shall approve any changes from this schedule.
Rule 1.3 Order of Cases in Court
Cases shall be presented to the Court in the following order:
- Probation matters
- Cases requiring an interpreter
- Cases with counsel
- All other matters
Any deviations must be approved by the Director of Court Services.
Rule 1.4 Hearing of Cases by Judicial Officer other than the Mayor
In the event the Mayor is unable to preside on the bench, either the Magistrate (who is appointed by the Mayor) or the Vice-Mayor shall preside. If the Vice-Mayor is to preside, the Mayor shall complete an entry stating as much. The entry is to be time-stamped and a file maintained by the Director of Court Services.
Rule 1.5 Time-Stamping of Items Received by the Court
All tickets, citations, complaints, reports, motions, mail, correspondence, and any other case-related material received by the Court shall be time-stamped to show the date and time of receipt.
Rule 1.6 Joinder and Separation of Cases
Criminal and traffic cases which are filed at the same time against the same defendant shall be adjudicated together throughout the entire Court process. Any motions for separation must be approved by the Mayor.
Rule 1.7 Size of Paper Filed
All pleadings, motions, briefs, and other papers filed with the Clerk’s Office shall be on paper not exceeding 8 ½ in. x 11 in. in size.
Rule 1.8 Recording of Court Proceedings
In accordance with Mayor’s Court Rule 11(B)(2), all court proceedings shall be recorded and maintained according to the City’s Record Retention Schedule.
Rule 1.9 Caseflow Management
Although Mayor’s Court’s are under no obligation to follow the Supreme court of Ohio’s Rules of Superintendence, the City of Dublin chooses to follow the Rules of Superintendence in the area of case management. The Court will strive to complete its cases within the time limits prescribed by the Supreme Court reporting rules for Municipal Courts. The current time limit for criminal, traffic, and OMVI cases is 6 months. A quarterly report listing all cases over the prescribed time limit will be generated by the Clerk’s office and reported to the Mayor.
Rule 1.10 Motion Practice
All motions must be presented and filed in duplicate, in writing, accompanied by sufficient memoranda not less then 14 days before the next hearing date for the case. Unless the following statement appears prominently on the first page of the motion, no oral hearing will be permitted: “Counsel requests an oral hearing at which _______ witnesses will be presented.” All parties wishing to respond in writing to a motion shall do so in duplicate not later than the tenth day following service of the motion on the responding party. Motions, where an oral hearing is requested, will be heard during the next scheduled Court night. A party may not file a motion prior to the entry of a plea in misdemeanor, criminal and traffic cases, except motions listed as exceptions in Criminal R. 12(B)(2) and motions listed as exceptions in Ohio Traffic Rule 11(B)(1).
Rule 2.1 Continuances
Requests for Continuances shall be made in writing to the Court. Faxed copies of the request shall be accepted. All Requests for Continuances shall be to a date certain. The date can be determined by contacting the Clerk’s office. All continuances granted by the Court shall have the name of the Mayor printed approving the continuance and initialed by the Clerk. The person accepting the continuance will enter the case information into the computer. The computer will generate a log listing all of the continuances issued for the week. The Mayor, or his/her designee acting on his/her behalf as presiding judge, shall sign the log within a week, approving all such continuances.
Requests for continuances on cases going to trial shall be made at least 7 calendar days prior to the Court date in order to allow the Court Clerk time to contact all parties involved via phone or mail. Any requests made less than 7 days prior to the trial date shall have the prior approval of the Mayor or Magistrate. The Court Clerk will make every attempt to confirm the continuance with all parties and witnesses.
The Court Clerk’s office is hereby granted permission to continue the case a maximum of 2 times not to exceed a total period of 2 months total without the prior approval of both the Prosecutor and the Defendant. Any further continuances are subject to the leave of the Court unless mutually agreed. All cases will strive to be completed within the Court’s guidelines for Case Management.
Rule 2.12 Bond Case Transfers
Effective May 18, 2004, if a case is to be transferred to the appropriate municipal court, a bond or recognizance is to be entered. If a bond has been previously entered on the case, the bond will transfer to the municipal court. If a bond has not been previously entered, a personal recognizance will be entered into by the defendant to ensure their appearance unless the Mayor/Vice-Mayor/Magistrate orders a cash bond in their case.
Rule 2.13 Electronically Produced Citations
Effective May 18, 2004, the City of Dublin Division of Court Services hereby authorized the use and filing of a ticket that is produced by computer or other electronic means. The electronically produced ticket shall conform in all substantive respects to the Ohio Uniform Traffic Ticket in a format approved by the Director of Court Services. If an electronically produced ticket is issued at the scene of an alleged offense, the issuing officer shall provide the defendant with a paper copy of the ticket.
Rule 2.2 Additional Conditions of Probation on Alcohol/Drug Related Offenses
All probationers convicted of an OMVI offense in the City of Dublin Mayor’s Court shall, unless otherwise directed by the Court, be required to attend a victim impact panel presentation, submit to an alcohol/drug evaluation, and abide by any aftercare recommendations.
All probationers convicted of a drug-related offense in the City of Dublin Mayor’s Court shall, unless otherwise directed by the Court, be required to submit to an alcohol/drug evaluation and abide by any aftercare recommendations.
These requirements shall be part of the Rules of Probation and shall have the full effect of being ordered by the Court. Any deviations from this rule must be approved by the Mayor.
Rule 2.3 Use of Signature Stamp
The Mayor, or the Judicial Officer acting on his/her behalf, shall personally sign orders for warrants, transfers to municipal court, limited driving privileges, and the orders granting limited driving privileges. The signature stamps of the Mayor and/or all other Judicial Officers may be used for orders for summons, vehicle releases, automatic license suspensions appeals, and continuances (see Court Rule 2.1). Any other uses for the signature stamp(s) shall have prior approval of the Mayor or Magistrate.
Rule 2.4 Authorization of a Summons and/or a Warrant
The Mayor/Magistrate, or their designee, shall make the determination of which cases shall receive a summons or a warrant as a result of not appearing for a scheduled Court hearing. Once the entry for the summons or warrant is made on the file, the Mayor/Magistrate authorizes the Court Clerks to process and sign the summons and/or warrants and to affix the Court’s seal. Prior to the actual mailing and/or delivery to the Division of Police of a summons or a warrant, the Court Clerk may cancel issuance of said summons or warrant if the defendant properly files for a continuance or pays all fines and costs associated with the citation.
Rule 2.5 Authorization to Waive Fees and Recall Warrants
The Mayor hereby authorizes the Director of Court Services (or the Court Clerk in the Director’s absence) the discretion to waive established court fees and recall warrants, when just cause is shown in order to preserve the integrity of the City of Dublin Mayor’s Court.
Rule 2.6 Transfer of Cases to Municipal Court
Ohio Revised Code Section 1905.032 states “if a Mayor transfers a case…, the Mayor shall require the person charged to enter into a recognizance to appear before the Court to which the case is transferred.” The section also states “the Mayor shall certify all papers filed with the case, together with a transcript of all proceedings, accrued costs to date and the recognizance given, to the Court to which the case is transferred.” The section also states “the Mayor shall certify all papers filed with the case, together with a transcript of all proceedings, accrued costs to date and the recognizance given, to the Court to which the case is transferred.” In accordance with this section of the ORC, the Court Clerks shall prepare all papers necessary for the transfer and present them to the Mayor for his/her signature.
Rule 2.7 Process for Cases Involving City of Dublin Employees Directly Involved in Court Operations
This rule applies to City of Dublin personnel and their immediate families (spouses and children) who are directly involved in Court operations. Included in this rule are all Division of Court Services personnel, the City Law Director, Assistant Law Director, Prosecutors, the City Manager, the Mayor, the Vice-Mayor, and the Magistrate. Any deviations from this rule shall include a written justification for the deviation signed by the Mayor.
If the citation is waiverable, the defendant may pay the posted fine and costs.
If the case requires a mandatory Court appearance, or if the defendant wishes to go before the Court, the case shall immediately be transferred to Municipal Court.
If the defendant is eligible for either juvenile or adult diversion, the case will be reviewed for appropriateness by the
Director of Court Services, who will make the final decision on acceptance into the program.
Rule 2.8 Process for Case Involving City of Dublin Employees Not Directly Involved in Court Operations
This rule applies to all City of Dublin personnel and their immediate families (spouses and children) not defined as directly involved in Court operations (Court Rule 2.7) when they are defendants in the City of Dublin Mayor’s Court. Any deviations from this rule shall include a written justification for deviation signed by the Mayor.
If the citation is waiverable, the defendant may pay the posted fine and costs.
If the defendant wishes to plead no contest or guilty to a waiverable offense or a mandatory appearance offense, he/she may do so. If there is a perceived conflict by the Mayor, or other Judicial Officer, sentencing will be held at a later date before the Magistrate.
If the defendant wishes to plead not guilty to any offense, the case shall be set before the Magistrate.
If the defendant is eligible for either juvenile or adult diversion, they shall be afforded the opportunity to enter the program.
This rule does not affect the right of the Mayor to transfer any case to Municipal Court when appropriate.
Rule 2.9 Options on MM and M4 Cases With a Warrant – REVISED FEBRUARY 8, 2005
Minor Misdemeanor (MM) and Misdemeanor of the Fourth Degree (M4) cases with a warrant will be offered the following options:
On pre-convictions cases, the defendant will be given the opportunity to post a bond according to the bond schedule, or execute a payout equal to the fine amount in the fine schedule plus all accrued costs/fees. The payout option is available only on charges listed on the fine schedule as waiverable. Failure to take either action will result in the defendant being held in jail pending a hearing.
On post-conviction cases when the issue causing the warrant to be issued is a failure to pay fines and/or costs/fees, the defendant may execute a payout in the amount of all outstanding fines, costs, and/or fees. Failure to do so will result in the defendant being held in jail pending a hearing.
On post-conviction cases when the issue causing the warrant to be issued is something other than a failure to pay fines and/or costs/fees, the defendant will be given the opportunity to post a bond according to the bond schedule plus all accrued costs/fees. Failure to do so will result in the defendant being held in jail pending a hearing.
Rule 2.10 Options on M3-M1 Cases With a Warrant – REVISED FEBRUARY 8, 2005
Misdemeanor of the Third Degree (M3), the Second Degree (M2), and the First Degree (M1) cases with a warrant will be offered the following options:
- On pre-conviction cases, the defendant will be afforded the opportunity to post a bond according to the bond schedule. Failure to do so will result in the defendant being held in jail pending a hearing.
- On post-conviction cases when the issue causing the warrant to be issued is a failure to pay fines and/or costs/fees, the defendant may execute a payout in the amount of all outstanding fines, costs, and fees accrued. Failure to do so will result in the defendant being held in jail pending a hearing.
- On post-conviction cases when the issue causing the warrant to be issued is something other than a failure to pay fines and/or costs/fees, the defendant will be given the opportunity to post a bond according to the bond schedule plus all accrued costs/fees. Failure to do so will result in the defendant being held in jail pending a hearing.
Rule 2.11 Late Enforcement
When the Court Clerk has determined a defendant on Probation has a later enforcement, the Court Clerk shall notify the Probation Officer of the late enforcement and add 30 days to the enforcement date. The Probation Officer shall then be responsible for obtaining compliance by the defendant or file a statement of violations before the end of the new enforcement period.
When the Court Clerk has determined a defendant has a late enforcement on any other case, the case will be set for the next Court date. If the case comes into compliance before the Court date, the Director of Court Service is authorized to accept and sign for late enforcements.
Rule 3.1 Establishment of Violation Bureau
In accordance with Traffic Rule 13 and Criminal Rule 4.1, a Traffic/Criminal Violation Bureau is established and the Director of Court Services is designated as the violations clerk. The Mayor shall review the schedule of fines and costs annually. The schedule of fines and costs shall be prominently displayed at the place where fines are paid. All procedures stated in Traffic Rule 13 and Criminal Rule 4.1 shall be strictly followed.
Rule 3.2 Payable Offenses and Fine Schedule
All M4 and MM traffic moving violations shall be payable offenses except those specifically excluded by Traffic Rule 13, traffic offense 71.11 (illegal plates), or those citations in which the arresting officer has required a court appearance pursuant to ORC Section 2935.26. Only offenses listed on the fine schedule are payable offenses.
Rule 3.3 Deviation from Designated Bond
The bond schedule is established by the Mayor. Only the Mayor/Magistrate may deviate from the schedule. If a deviation is warranted, the Mayor/Magistrate shall be contacted prior to accepting a lesser bond amount or issuing a summons in lieu of posting a bond. In the event the Mayor is unavailable, the Vice-Mayor is to be contacted. Any deviations from the bond schedule should be rare and based upon special or extenuating circumstances.
Rule 3.4 Forms of Acceptable Payments
Payments for fines and/or costs may be made by cash, credit card, money order, or personal check (if it is from a local bank). Payments for bonds must be made by cash, credit card, surety, or money order. No personal checks will be accepted for bond payments. In accordance with Traffic Rule 13, the Court will accept credit card payments via information provided on the telephone, fax transmissions, the internet, or via the mail. Once a payment has been received, it constitutes a guilty plea and a wavier of trial rights.
Rule 3.5 Overpayments
Any overpayment of $5.00 or less will be receipted as an additional ticket processing fee and sent to the City’s general fund.