As a defendant, you are entitled to be informed of the nature of the charge. If you do not understand the charge, please say so when your case is called. After being informed of the charge, you will be asked to plead either guilty, not guilty, or no contest.
If you plead guilty or no contest a short statement of the facts will be made to the court. If you do not dispute the essential elements of the offense, then the Court will enter a finding. You may then tell the Magistrate any facts which you feel may explain the circumstances or lessen the sentence. If a fine, court costs, or incarceration is imposed, you are expected to make arrangements for payment or serving time that night.
In some cases you may obtain a continuance on your case by visiting the Safety Center and signing a time waiver, Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.. The Safety Center is located at 10150 Montgomery Road. If your case qualifies for a continuance it will be continued for up to two weeks.
If you are charged with an offense that carries a possible fine of more than $150 or that carries the possibility of jail time, you have the right to a jury trial. All jury trials take place in the Hamilton County Municipal Court, in downtown Cincinnati. The services of an attorney are highly recommended if you wish to present your defense to a jury. Accordingly, if you wish to request a jury trial, you should request a continuance and seek legal assistance immediately. If you do not know whether you are entitled to a jury trial, do not hesitate to ask the Court before you enter a plea to the charge.
A plea of guilty is an admission that you have committed the offense of which you have been charged. If you plead guilty, a statement will be given on behalf of the City concerning the events constituting the charge. If you choose, you will then be permitted to make a statement on your own behalf.
A plea of no contest is not an admission of guilt, but it is an admission of the facts alleged in the complaint or traffic citation as well as other facts presented by the prosecution at the time of the plea. You are leaving it up to the Court to decide your guilt or innocence based on those facts. You should realize that in almost every instance a plea of no contest will result in a guilty finding.
A plea of not guilty requires a trial. At the trial, the City must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Please do not hesitate to plead not guilty if you feel you are innocent of the charge, or if you dispute the facts stated in the complaint or traffic citation. If you plead not guilty, your case will be set for trial tried 1 to 3 weeks from your initial court appearance.
You can obtain a copy of your driving record from the BMV by visiting www.bmv.ohio.gov. There you can obtain information about any license suspensions or any money owed to the BMV for reinstatement or other fees.
The local BMV reinstatement office is located at 10948 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati 45231.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Court, you have the right, under certain rules, to appeal to a higher Court. When a valid appeal bond is filed, your case will be transferred to the Hamilton County Municipal Court. You are then entitled to a new trial before a different judge or jury.
If you wish to ask for a review of the Court’s decision, you should advise the Clerk of the Court before you pay any fine levied, and immediately consult an attorney to assist you.