Courts in Ohio

Ohio has the same two-court system that is used by every other state in the nation. This means that Ohio has state courts and federal courts. However, there are multiple levels and specific types of these courts.

The type of court that a person appears in depends on the specific matter of law that is being heard. Criminal cases may be heard in different courts depending on where the alleged offense occurred and what the classification of the crime was.

These courts have different sets of rules and requirements, but each one allows people the right to an attorney. Legal representation can be critical in ensuring that alleged offenders in criminal cases achieve the most favorable outcomes.

Defending Clients in Courts Throughout Central Ohio

If you were recently arrested or believe you are being investigated for allegedly committing a crime, it is in your best interest to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Joslyn Law Firm defends clients in courts throughout Franklin County, Licking County, Fairfield County, Madison County, Delaware County, and Pickaway County.

Brian Joslyn has received several prestigious honors in recognition of his legal abilities, including being named a Top Lawyer by Columbus CEO magazine, one of the Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys in Ohio by the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, and one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers in the United States by the National Trial Lawyers. He can review your own case and help you understand what to expect about the particular court you will be appearing in when you call (614) 444-1900 to set up a free, confidential consultation.


Federal Courts

Also called United States courts, there are three courts in Ohio that are dedicated to deciding matters of federal law or cases in which the United States is a party. There are two federal trial courts in Ohio that are called district courts, and these districts are further divided into two divisions. The federal district courts in Ohio are:

  • United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio — The Eastern Division is in Columbus, while the Western Division has locations in Cincinnati and Dayton.
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio — The Eastern Division has locations in Akron, Cleveland, and Youngstown, while the Western Division is in Toledo.

In addition to these federal trial courts, Ohio is also home to a federal appellate court that handles appeals not only from both of Ohio’s district courts but also district courts in Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee.


Appeals Courts

Ohio District Courts of Appeals are the state’s intermediate appellate courts. These courts also have original jurisdiction to hear certain proceedings, such as applications for writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, procedendo, prohibition, and quo warranto. Some of the appeals courts in Central Ohio include:

  • Fourth District Court of Appeals — Located in Chillicothe, this court hears appeals from trial courts in Pickaway County and 13 other counties.
  • Fifth District Court of Appeals — Located in Canton, this court hears appeals from trial courts in Delaware County, Fairfield County, Licking County, and 12 other counties.
  • Tenth District Court of Appeals — Located in Columbus, this court hears appeals from trial courts in Franklin County.
  • Twelfth District Court of Appeals — Located in Middletown, this court hears appeals from trial courts in Madison County and seven other counties.

The Ohio Supreme Court can review cases from the courts of appeals, but the decision of a District Court of Appeals in Ohio is usually end of the appeals process for most cases.


Specialty Courts

Certain jurisdictions in Ohio also have specialized courts that are designed to provide an alternative to the traditional criminal court system for certain groups of alleged offenders. A few examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Mental Health Courts — These courts attempt provide mental health assessments, treatment, and judicial monitoring for alleged offenders with mental illnesses.
  • Drug Courts — These courts allow certain non-violent alleged offender with substance abuse issues to undergo treatment, rehabilitation, and monitoring in lieu of imprisonment.
  • OVI/DUI Courts — Alleged offenders in these courts are required to successfully complete court-mandated programs in lieu of criminal penalties.
  • Domestic Violence Courts — These types of courts may adjudicate criminal offenses involving intimate partners by having alleged offenders and possibly victims undergo counseling and therapy sessions.
  • Child Support Enforcement Courts — These courts help parents who have fallen behind on child support payments to be referred to court-assigned drug treatment, education, or job training in lieu of incarceration.
  • Re-entry Courts — These courts attempt to reduce an alleged offender’s habitual relapse into crime through drug and alcohol testing, participation in programs and treatment, and regular reviews of progress.
  • Sex Offender Courts — These courts use treatment and community supervision to address underlying issues rather than imprisoning the alleged offenders.
  • Veterans Courts — These courts are specifically dedicated to military veterans who may have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Ohio Court of Common Pleas

Every county in Ohio has a common pleas court that is dedicated to hearing all criminal felony cases in the county as well as juvenile, domestic relations, and probate matters. Unlike other kinds of trial courts in Ohio that are regulated by statute, the countywide jurisdiction of common pleas courts are established under the state constitution and can only be changed by an amendment to the Ohio Constitution.


Municipal Courts

These courts handle misdemeanor offenses and traffic violations, although they can also hold preliminary hearings in felony cases. Municipal courts have limited jurisdiction, but the limits vary by court. Some municipal courts have countywide jurisdiction while others have jurisdiction only within their corporate limits. Some courts may have jurisdiction that extends beyond corporate limits but is not fully countywide.


Mayor’s Courts

Municipal corporations that have a population of more than 100 people and are not home to a municipal court can establish a Mayor’s Court. Similar to municipal courts, Mayor’s Courts handle alleged misdemeanor crimes and traffic violations within their corporate limits.

Rather than having a judge preside over these cases, these matters are overseen by either the mayor him or herself or a magistrate appointed by the mayor. These are not courts of record and alleged offenders cannot receive jury trials in Mayor’s Courts, but people can transfer their cases to municipal courts at any time before a trial or as part of an appeal.


Find An Ohio Courts Lawyer in Columbus

Are you concerned about going to court to face criminal charges in Ohio? You can reduce a significant amount of stress by having experienced legal representation.

Joslyn Law Firm represents clients in various courts in Central Ohio, including Columbus, Grand View, Westerville, Hilliard, Grove City, Gahanna, Dublin, and many more. Call (614) 444-1900 today to receive a free consultation that will allow Brian Joslyn to provide a complete evaluation of your case.