Ohio Criminal Court Process
If you are charged with a crime in Ohio, the criminal court process can be challenging to navigate. Depending on the level of charges, the timeline can vary from a few days to several months. You should not deal with anything alone.
Although the rights of the accused should be protected, they are often overlooked. To make sure you get the best outcome possible, you should consult with an attorney as quickly as possible after an arrest. Call The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis, LLC at (216) 533-9533 or reach out via our online contact form.
What Happens During an Arrest?
The Ohio criminal court process begins with an arrest: the police can arrest you on suspicion that you’ve committed a crime, or they can obtain a warrant for arrest from a judge if there is reason to suspect you have been responsible for criminal activity.
Upon arrest, the arresting officers are required to read you the Miranda Rights, in which you have the right to remain silent. Once you are arrested, anything you say can be used against you in court, which is why the Miranda Rights are important. These rights allow you to refrain from answering any police interrogations and provide information that could later be considered incriminating evidence.
They also allow you the opportunity to first speak to an attorney before answering police questioning or court interrogation.
What Happens After Arrest? Booking and Bail
After you’ve been arrested, the police will escort you to a local booking station where they will take your mugshot, fingerprints, and take your personal belongings until you are released. The court may set a bail amount and schedule an arraignment hearing.
Bail is a deposit that must be paid before you can be released. It is a promise that you will return to court. When you return, your bail will be returned. If you do not, it will be kept and a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
Bail is not mandated, but a judge will determine if a bond can be posted based on whether they assess you are not a threat to yourself or the community, and that you will not run away once released. Bail might range in amount from a few hundred dollars to several thousands.
You’ll then be held until you can make the bail or until the scheduled court hearing.
What to Expect if You are Booked for a Criminal Court Hearing in Cleveland
At your first court hearing, when the charges are recounted, you will enter a plea of Guilty, No Contest, or Not Guilty.
A guilty plea means you’re admitting your part in the crime. Sentencing and possible jail will be forthcoming.
A no contest plea is similar. It essentially says you don’t admit guilt, but you won’t resist the charges, and will result in sentencing.
A not guilty plea, however, means you contest the accusations and charges against you, and you’ll now have the opportunity to work to prove your innocence.
If you enter a not guilty plea, the court will set a pre-trial hearing date, and from there, a series of conferences and motion-filings and court appearances will follow.
An experienced criminal court attorney will be able to assess your situation, confer with the prosecution, and advise you on the possible outcomes for each plea option. An Ohio criminal lawyer can negotiate knowledgeably on your behalf, and will help you navigate the Cleveland criminal court system.
What Happens If You Are Convicted of a Crime?
If you are convicted of criminal charges, the consequences can have significant impact on you and your family. While lesser misdemeanors carry possible jail time and fines, the greater the misdemeanor charge the more of a financial burden it can cause.
Not only are the immediately tangible impacts great, but long-term implications from criminal charges include loss of wages and work time, transportation costs for attending court hearings, and emotional distress which can all have unforeseen yet long-lasting effects.
Conviction of felony charges is significantly more serious, and can result in loss of job, insurance, serious prison time, and increased emotional and psychological effects.
Let a Cleveland Criminal Defense Attorney Help You
Whether you’re charged with a criminal misdemeanor or a felony, it can be difficult to wade through the criminal court process and achieve the best outcome on your own. If convicted, you face jail or prison time, hefty fines, and even a criminal record that could affect your future employment and opportunities.
Conviction for crimes in Ohio can have serious consequences, but as a defendant charged in the criminal court system you deserve the right to a fair hearing and trial. That is why if you are charged with criminal activity in Cleveland, you should consult a criminal court attorney immediately.
Daniel M. Margolis is a former prosecutor in Cuyahoga County and has experience defending Ohio citizens against criminal charges. Call today for a confidential consultation to see if we can help you navigate your Cleveland criminal court process.