Tickets Not Requiring Court Appearance
Most Minor Misdemeanor traffic charges have the option of paying a fine instead of going to Court. Example of this includes speeding less than 26 miles an hour over the posted speed limit, red lights, stop signs or expired plates. If waiverable, the amount will be written on the back side of the citation. 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 (DUS).
Transfer of Cases to Municipal Court
The Defendant has the right to have the case transferred to Stow Municipal Court at any time. This must be done by requesting a transfer in writing 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.”
An Arraignment Hearing 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 choose 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. At the trial, the Prosecutor will present any evidence and call any witnesses to prove the case. The Defendant will have an opportunity to present his/her own evidence and witnesses to prove his/her innocence. All Defendants have the right to be represented by an Attorney.
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 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.
If a Defendant fails to appear after a citation has been issued, a warrant for his/her arrest will be issued by the Court. This document allows the Police Dept. 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 Magistrate will impose a sentence. This may include time in jail, fines, court costs, community service or a period of probation supervision.