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Mayor's Courts are a long-standing, if perhaps sometimes questionable, Ohio tradition in over 260 jurisdictions. Essentially, Ohio Mayor's Courts were established to provide an alternate legal solution for municipal ordinance violations (like traffic tickets) and misdemeanors to small municipalities whose courts would otherwise be overwhelmed.
Instead of going before a judge or jury in the city or county court, in Mayor's Court your case goes before the mayor or his or her appointed magistrate. Although an alternate form of litigation to the traditional court process, verdicts arising out of Mayor's Court cases are just as binding as the traditional court verdict, and a knowledgeable criminal attorney in Franklin County can help you fight for a more favorable outcome.
It is a common misconception that handling your own minor violation or misdemeanor case in Mayor's Court is just as effective as seeking the counsel and representation of an Ohio criminal defense attorney experienced with Mayor's Court legal matters. If you have been charged with a municipal offense or misdemeanor in Franklin County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, or Fairfield County and are facing the possibility of a Mayor's Court hearing, contact the experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers of Joslyn Law Firm.
We will fight for a favorable outcome in Mayor's Court, as well as use this alternative court to the strategical advantage of your case, when necessary. To see what the experienced Mayor's Court defense attorneys of Joslyn Law Firm can do for your case, call (614) 444-1900 today and schedule your free consultation.
The Ohio Mayor's Court process is governed by its own set of statutes in O.R.C. § 1905. Other than providing relief of probable overload to the other courts, there are benefits to having a mayor's court. If your case is eligible for trial in the municipal or county court, such as with a misdemeanor, and you waive your right to that trial in order to have your case heard at Mayor's Court, you do not waive your right to appeal in those courts. Therefore, according to O.R.C. § 1902.22, if you are adjudicated guilty and unsatisfied with the result, you can appeal your case in the appropriate municipal or county court. This basically gives your case two chances in what is essentially the same trial, which can be an effective defense strategy.
If your case is dismissed or you are adjudicated not guilty, for instance, you deal only with the Mayor's Court and no other legal entity for your criminal charge. If you are found guilty, your Franklin County criminal defense lawyer will be better prepared for your municipal or county trial, having seen both the prosecution's evidence and how they use it in court, as well as what defense strategies do and do not work for your case. In a guilty verdict with appeal to the municipal or county courts, the Mayor's Court hearing basically becomes a practice run.
The problem with Mayor's Courts is that statutorily, the mayor does not have to have a law degree or any litigation or judge experience, though he or she must complete legal training. A partial remedy to this is the ability, though not requirement, of the mayor to appoint an attorney or retired judge as magistrate
Another issue is that the revenue from the fines and court costs implemented in Mayor's Courts goes directly to the city or village instead of to the budgets of the municipal or county courts. While this can be beneficial to the city, it is also a conflict of interest for the mayor or his or her appointed staff to direct money into that budget since the mayor usually controls the city budget to some extent. In an economic downturn, a mayor could feasibly be motivated to adjudicate someone guilty to in order obtain the revenue from the fines and court costs.
It is important to note that though a first OVI charge is eligible for hearing by the Mayor's Court in the jurisdiction it was charged in, subsequent OVI charges when the person was previously convicted of OVI in Ohio are not. An experienced Columbus DUI defense attorney will be able to weigh the positives and negatives of the Ohio Mayor's Courts in your county and advise you whether your case is eligible , as well as if taking your case there could be a favorable strategy.
What qualifications a city must meet to be eligible for a Mayor's Court is outlined in chapter 1905 of the Ohio Revised Code. Additionally, how each Mayor's Court operates can vary by city, such as whether the mayor or an appointed magistrate governs the proceedings. For specific information, you can consult an experienced Franklin County criminal defense lawyer or contact the courts directly. The cities with Mayor's Courts in Franklin County are:
There are cities in the counties surrounding Franklin County that also have Mayor's Courts. Licking County has 10 Mayor's Courts in its boundaries: Alexandria, Buckeye Lake, Granville, Hartford, Hebron, Johnstown, Kirkersville, Pataskala, St. Louisville, and Utica. Pickaway County has Mayor's Courts in Ashville, Commercial Point, New Holland, and South Bloomfield. Fairfield County has them in Lithopolis, Pickerington, and Sugar Grove; Delaware County in Shawnee Hills and Sunbury, and Madison County in Mount Sterling. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney in Columbus can represent you in any of these mayor's courts.
If you are facing a municipal or criminal offense charge in Dublin, Upper Arlington, Worthington, Whitehall, Gahanna, Bexley, or any of the other municipalities with Mayor's Courts in Franklin County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, or Fairfield County, and are confused or concerned about the process for your case, contact the experienced Mayor's Court defense lawyers of Joslyn Law Firm in Columbus. Your first consultation is free, so call (614) 444-1900 to schedule yours.