Delaware County Criminal Defense Lawyers
Aggressively Representing Our Clients in Delaware County Courts, Including the Juvenile Court, Municipal Court, and Court of Common Pleas
It isn’t uncommon for Delaware County residents to face traffic violations and criminal charges with harsh potential sentences attached. The fact is that our criminal justice system leaves most defendants in a one-down position, and even a minor conviction can lead to serious fines, penalties, and social consequences. Further, just because the charge is minor doesn’t mean that the prosecutor is going to go easy on you. On the contrary, you should be prepared for just the opposite to happen, which is why you need a focused and formidable criminal defense attorney on your side.
At Joslyn Law Firm, we’re committed to zealously defending our clients at the Delaware County Juvenile Court, Delaware County Municipal Court, and the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, and we’re proud to represent clients in all of the following cities (and more besides):
- Fairfield Beach
- West Rushville
If you or someone you love has been charged with a crime, has been arrested in relation to criminal charges, has a warrant out for your arrest, or is facing a traffic or ordinance violation, we’re on your side. Our firm is well versed in the ins-and-outs of the Delaware County courts, and this includes being very familiar with the judges, clerks, and staff at each. Our impressive experience in all of Delaware County’s courts leaves us especially well-suited to helping you obtain your most favorable case resolution.
At Joslyn Law Firm, we represent adults and juveniles across Central Ohio who face criminal charges of all kinds. Our legal team is led by award-winning lawyer Brian Joslyn, and our focus is providing every criminal defense matter – whether it involves a violent felony, a simple misdemeanor, or anything in between – the careful legal attention it deserves (because everyone facing criminal charges has the right to a solid legal defense). Our impressive track record (which includes legal victories that span a wide range of criminal cases) speaks for itself, and you can trust that we’re well prepared to skillfully defend your rights in support of your case’s just resolution.
If you or your child has been arrested in Delaware County, do yourself and your case a favor by making the Joslyn Law Firm your first call (614-444-1900). To begin, we’ll evaluate your case with a critical eye for its legal strengths and challenges – in our ongoing effort to protect your legal rights and best interests. We’ll work closely with you to help ensure that you understand the charges you’re facing, the potential outcomes, the most likely outcome, and your most robust defense strategy moving forward. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as it’s possible to do so.
In order to get a better feel for Delaware County’s criminal court system, consider all of the following general information (which you can find below):
- Delaware County Overview and General Information
- Common Criminal Charges in Delaware County
- Penalties for Criminal Convictions in Delaware County
- Warrants in Delaware County
- Hiring a Delaware County Criminal Defense Attorney
- Delaware County Criminal Defense Q&A
- Delaware County Law Enforcement and Other Agencies
- Delaware County Resources
- Delaware County News
- Delaware County Court Location and Contact Information
To discover more about your case specifically, however, it’s important to contact our office directly.
Delaware County is 457 square miles in the center of the beautiful State of Ohio, and despite its inland location, it sports the most shoreline of any of the state’s counties (due to its rivers, reservoirs, creeks, and lakes. The county seat of Delaware County is the City of Delaware, which is just 25 miles north of downtown Columbus (a portion of which is housed in Delaware County – along with portions of Dublin and Westerville). The county’s estimated population for 2020 is 213,336, which is up 25 percent from the 2010 census. Finally, Delaware County is – by all accounts – a healthy county; The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation named it the Healthiest County in Ohio for four years running (2015-2019), and U.S. News & World Report ranked it the twelfth healthiest county in the U.S. in 2018. The county’s government is diverse, including departments, agencies (such as law enforcement), prosecutors, and the court system – all of which are intended to help keep the community safe and running smoothly and many of which are housed in the county seat of Delaware City.
As lovely and safe as Delaware City is, crimes do happen – and people are charged. Unfortunately, the crimes committed and the charges levied aren’t always in perfect alignment. In 2018, Delaware City’s crime rate was higher than 56 percent of other U.S. cities and was down 9 percent (from 2017). Over the last five years, Delaware City experienced a rise in violent crimes and a decrease in property crimes. Consider the following numbers reported per 100,000 residents for 2018:
● 1 murder (after 6 years with no murders)
● 31 rapes (down 5 from 2017)
● 12 robberies (up 4 from 2017)
● 20 assaults
● 78 burglaries (down significantly from 2017’s 119)
● 496 thefts
● 27 auto thefts
● 4 cases of arson
Crime rears its ugly head in every community, and Delaware County is no exception.
Specific cases are tried in specific courts – in accordance with the circumstances involved. For example:
● When a juvenile is charged as a juvenile, the case is tried in the Delaware County Juvenile Court.
● Cases that involve traffic violations, ordinance violations, or misdemeanor criminal offenses are tried in the Delaware County Municipal Court.
● Felony offenses that are levied against adults (and juveniles who are tried as adults) are tried in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas.
Regardless of the charge or where it’s filed, you are advised to have a formidable defense attorney who is well acquainted with Delaware County courts in your corner. In other words, you’ll want the intrepid criminal defense lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm on your side.
The Buckeye State has wide-ranging laws that relate to both criminal offenses and traffic regulations – any of which can lead to charges and subsequent court cases. Further, Delaware County – in addition to individual cities within the county – have their own regulations on the books.
Just like adults, juveniles in Ohio can be charged with any crime, and some juveniles – whose charges are especially serious – are charged as adults and have their cases transferred to adult court. Certain crimes, however, are considered common to juveniles and are typically tried in juvenile court, including:
Regardless of the type of charge your child is facing, the far-reaching implications of a conviction can seriously limit his or her future prospects, which is why having solid legal representation is critical.
When the charge relates to ordinance violations, traffic violations, and/or (most) offenses that are classified as misdemeanors, it is heard in the Delaware County Municipal Court. The following represent specific examples:
Operating a Vehicle under the Influence/Driving under the Influence (OVI/DUI)
Operating and driving under the influence are common misdemeanor charges in Delaware County, and a conviction on either charge can have serious consequences that reverberate into your future. While you will likely face considerable fines, possible jail time, potential license suspension, and probation, that’s far from the end of the story. In fact, an OVI or DUI conviction can lead to serious social ramifications that can include:
● Limiting your ability to rent a home or apartment
● Limiting your ability to obtain federal student loans for furthering your education
● Limiting your ability to maintain your professional licensure
● Limiting your employment opportunities
If your OVI charge has an aggravating component, it could rise to the level of a felony and be heard in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Regardless of the charge you face, our resourceful legal team is available to help skillfully guide your case throughout the legal process.
Misdemeanors are generally heard in the Municipal Court, and they come in many different forms that include:
● Minor misdemeanors
● Fourth-degree misdemeanors
● Third-degree misdemeanors
● Second-degree misdemeanors
● First-degree misdemeanors
While first-degree misdemeanors are the most serious, even a misdemeanor that’s classified as minor can have serious consequences that include steep fines and penalties – and that can lead to a criminal record.
All of the following classify as first-degree misdemeanors:
● Assault and Battery – A charge of assault and battery refers to the accusation of threatening harmful or offensive contact or causing harmful or offensive contact with another person.
● Domestic Violence – Domestic violence involves allegations of violence directed towards members of the accused household or a person you are or were once romantically involved with.
● Petty Theft – Petty theft is the theft of property worth more than $1,000. Despite the name, there is very little that’s petty about the potential consequences of a conviction, which can lead to jail time, steep fines, and/or probation.
● Marijuana Crimes – While many states have legalized marijuana in different capacities, you can still be looking at minor misdemeanor charges for possession in the State of Ohio. Further, these charges can shoot up to first-degree misdemeanor charges in relation to the amount you are alleged to possess (and/or if you have a prior conviction).
● Possession of a Controlled Substance – If you are alleged to possess other kinds of drugs, such as narcotics or prescription medications that don’t belong to you, it can lead to serious possession charges.
● Possessing Drug Paraphernalia or Drug Abuse Instruments – Drug paraphernalia refers to the tools and instruments that facilitate the use of illegal drugs, and they are also illegal to possess. Often, possession of drug paraphernalia leads to a separate misdemeanor charge (in addition to the drug-possession charge).
● Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor – Most sexually-based offenses are felonies. Unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, which is also known as statutory rape, however, can be classified as a misdemeanor (depending upon the circumstances at hand).
● Criminal Trespass – The charge of criminal trespass involves allegedly entering or remaining on someone else’s property or without permission to do so. Sometimes, the lesser charge of burglary applies if the prosecutor is unable to prove that you committed a crime while you were allegedly trespassing.
● Resisting Arrest – It is a first-class misdemeanor to resist or avoid arrest – or to interfere with someone else’s arrest.
● Disorderly Conduct – Disorderly conduct refers to any alleged conduct that inconveniences, alarms, or offends either the public at large or members of the public.
● Criminal Mischief – The crime of criminal mischief can be levied against alleged acts that include deploying smoke bombs or tear gas, hacking into someone else’s online domain, and more.
In order to file a felony charge, the prosecutor must first take the matter before a grand jury – or have a preliminary hearing. If the prosecutor is able to obtain a felony indictment, the felony case will move to the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Some examples of common felony charges include:
● Drug Charges – Common drug charges include possession, possession with the intent to distribute, trafficking, and manufacturing, and any such allegations can result in felony charges.
● Weapons and Gun Charges – The State of Ohio is serious about protecting its citizens’ gun rights, but it also implements serious restrictions related to the illegal possession or use of weapons and firearms. If you’ve been banned from possessing a weapon and are alleged to have done so or if you’re alleged to have used a weapon in the commission of a crime, you could face very serious felony charges.
● Theft and Fraud Offenses – If you’re alleged to have stolen money or property that has a value of more than $1,000, you could be looking at felony theft charges (also known as grand theft). The felony crime of theft can also refer to the alleged use of fraud to illegally obtain money or property. One of the most serious theft charges is robbery, which involves the alleged use of violence or the threat of violence in the process of taking someone else’s property for one’s own gain.
● Financial Crimes – Financial crimes are casually referred to as white collar crimes, and they are often predicated on defrauding an individual, agency, or corporation in pursuit of illegal gains. Financial crimes can include embezzlement, bribery, forgery, and much more.
● Property Crimes – Property crimes are criminal acts that target property owned by another person (rather than the other person). Such crimes can include arson, burglary, vandalism or destruction of property, and robbery.
● Sex Crimes – Sex crimes include charges such as prostitution, child pornography, sexual assault (rape), and much more. Facing such a charge – in and of itself – can be damaging to your social standing, reputation, and future. Having a conviction on your record can prove nearly insurmountable.
This list could go on, and our dedicated legal team has considerable experience in each felony-charge category. We know our way around the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, and we are at your service.
If you are convicted of a crime in Delaware County (whether a jury convicts you or you ultimately enter a guilty plea), the judge (either at the Municipal Court or the Court of Common Pleas) will set your sentence. The important point to remember here is that there is a wide range of considerations that go into this sentence and that it’s in your best interest to have an experienced criminal defense attorney skillfully advocating for the least-damaging sentence possible.
While the law specifies maximum sentences for every degree of a charge, the judge in each case has vast sentencing discretion and can generally order lesser sentences if deemed warranted. Consider all of the following maximum penalties you could face for specific misdemeanor convictions:
A warrant for your arrest can come about by different means, but one prime example is when a police officer presents probable cause that demonstrates you likely committed a crime and gets a judge to sign off on an arrest warrant. With such a warrant in hand, a police officer can arrest you right on the spot (whether they come to find you at your home or your work or they have a chance encounter with you at a traffic stop, for example).
Additionally, if you fail to attend a scheduled court date or fail to pay a court-ordered fine, the judge can issue a bench warrant, which again allows police officers to arrest you at their discretion.
If you think there might be a warrant out there with your name on it, you do yourself a serious disservice by ignoring the issue. Don’t wait to be arrested in front of your family, friends, or coworkers – and then need someone to bail you out. An experienced Delaware County criminal defense attorney will help you explore your best options and find the least-damaging path forward. This can mean having the warrant recalled (if possible) or arranging for you to turn yourself in as a means of damage control.
If you’re facing criminal charges of any kind, you no doubt know that the consequences of even a relatively minor conviction are likely to be serious. While you understand that having a skilled Delaware County criminal defense attorney on your side is preferable, you may also be concerned about the cost – after all, you’re facing considerable fines.
The fact is that having an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner can actually save you money in the long run. This is true even when you know you are guilty as charged. A formidable criminal defense attorney will skillfully negotiate with the prosecutor for a potential plea agreement that accomplishes a more favorable case resolution, which is unlikely to be forthcoming for a defendant who doesn’t have legal representation.
Whether you’re facing charges in the Delaware County Juvenile Court, the Municipal Court, or the Court of Common Pleas, the criminal justice system is challenging and complex. Because you, as the defendant, are under considerable pressure and are unlikely to understand the legal ins and outs in the first place, you’re far more likely to receive an overly harsh sentence or even a wrongful conviction without the professional legal counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Some of the many important ways a dedicated Delaware County criminal defense attorney can help include:
● Investigating the circumstances surrounding the offense you are alleged to have committed and your arrest in an effort to obtain exculpatory evidence (evidence that is in your favor)
● Reviewing the prosecutor’s case to determine if there is sufficient evidence to prove the charge brought against you
● Determining whether your constitutional rights were violated during the arrest (or beyond) and if so, leveraging this fact to help suppress evidence against you
● Negotiating a plea bargain with a charge reduction and/or a lesser sentence
● Advocating on behalf of the most lenient sentence available
Each of these can bolster your case and help you in the long term, which is why the best path forward includes having an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.
Will my case be tried in the Delaware County Municipal Court?
In Ohio, municipal courts are intended to handle criminal matters of a less-serious nature, which includes most misdemeanors, traffic offenses, and violations of local ordinances. If the charge you face falls in one of these categories, your case will likely be tried at the Delaware County Municipal Court.
Will my case be tried in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas?
If the charges you face are felony charges, the matter is more serious, and your case will be heard at the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas. Before your charges get to this point, however, they will need to be upheld by either a grand jury or a preliminary hearing in the municipal court.
What is Juvenile Court?
The Delaware County Juvenile Court handles all charges filed against juveniles (who are charged as juveniles and not as adults). Although juveniles retain most of the rights that adults do, the court procedure itself can vary. Judges tend to focus on the juvenile’s rehabilitation rather than on his or her punishment via detention (whenever possible). Further, juveniles maintain the right to legal representation, and they are well-advised to partake of this right.
Could my child go to jail?
While juvenile courts focus on rehabilitation over detention, some juveniles are sentenced to spend time in either a detention center or a Department of Youth Services facility, which is the equivalent of jail for minors. If your child is charged as an adult, he or she will face the same consequences an adult would. In other words, your child needs a skilled, compassionate defense attorney on his/her side.
Someone I know has been arrested; how can I find him/her?
If someone you know has been arrested in Delaware County, he or she is likely being held at the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office Jail. A skilled criminal defense attorney can also help you with the matter – and may be able to offer your friend, family member, or loved one the legal services he or she needs.
How do I find out why my loved one was arrested?
If your friend, family member, or loved one has been arrested, it’s stressful, but if he or she is facing related charges, you can obtain information about the charges online If he or she hasn’t been charged, it can be more complicated, but an experienced Delaware County criminal defense attorney can help.
Should I post bond for my loved one? If so, where?
In many cases, a judge will set a bond after an arrest. Once the bond is paid, it allows the defendant to be released from jail pending their court date (or other case resolution). While it’s tempting to pay the bond as quickly as possible in order to release your loved one from jail, it’s advisable to first consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer. Often, the original bail is set higher than it should be, and the right criminal defense attorney will skillfully argue for a decrease in bail – or for no bail at all – at your bail hearing.
How do I obtain information about my own criminal case?
If you’re looking for case information about a matter that’s pending in municipal court, you can conduct your own case search. Similarly, if your case is in the common pleas court, you can do an online search. The Clerk of Courts for either court can also help you in your search efforts.
What if there’s a warrant out for me?
The fact is that if you have either an arrest warrant or a bench warrant in Delaware County, you could be arrested at any moment, which is obviously less than ideal. Instead of taking the risk of being arrested in your home or office, discuss your options with a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer.
How can I clear my Delaware County warrant?
Every situation involving a warrant is unique to the circumstances at hand, but an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to clear your warrant without necessitating your arrest. In some instances, the best course of action is to turn yourself in, but your dedicated criminal defense attorney will help ensure that the process elicits the fewest negative consequences.
Should I plead guilty to the charges against me?
The prosecutor involved in your case is very motivated to convince you that pleading guilty is your only option. Even if you are guilty of the charge levied, pleading guilty without skilled legal representation is rarely in your best interest – the potential consequences (many of which you may not have even considered) are simply too serious. Your criminal defense attorney will carefully go over what a guilty plea would mean for you and will employ his or her considerable negotiating skills in an effort to procure a plea bargain that lessens your charge and/or penalties (if you do move forward with pleading guilty). Never enter a guilty plea out of exhaustion or frustration – always consult with an attorney first.
Should I hire a criminal defense attorney for my child’s case?
Your child may have made a mistake – it happens – but he or she also has a great big future ahead and deserves the best opportunities possible. In other words, yes, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney for your child.
In general, criminal cases arise when the police make an arrest or issue a citation, and the following contact information for Delaware County law enforcement agencies pertain:
Russel Martin, Sheriff
Main Office: 740-833-2809
Detective Bureau: 740-833-2830
Civil Division: 740-833-2810
Bruce Pijanowski, Chief
Direct Line: 740–203-1101
Delaware County offers resources to those accused of crimes – and their families. Obtaining the resources you need is critical, and this should extend to those community, mental health, and family resources (as applicable) that can help you find your most positive path forward and avoid charges in your future.
Some of the community resources available to you as a resident of Delaware County include:
● Delaware County Clerk of County Courts – This page offers an overview of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas.
● Delaware County: About Us – This is where you can learn more about Delaware County itself.
● Map of Delaware County – This page allows you to explore the cities, villages, and townships of Delaware County.
● Crime Data for the City of Delaware – This is where you’ll find specifics related to different crimes in the area.
● Delaware County law Library – This site can provide you with a wealth of information about Ohio and its laws.
● Delaware County Auditor – The auditor refers to the fiscal officer and tax assessor for Delaware County.
● Delaware County Child Support Enforcement – This is the agency that can help you get to the bottom of your child support concerns.
● Delaware County Job and Family Services – This is an important resource for anyone facing childcare, healthcare, employment, and other family-related concerns.
● Delaware Area Chamber of Commerce – The Chamber is all about providing programs and services that help businesses thrive throughout Delaware County.
● Delaware-Morrow Behavioral Mental Health & Recovery Services Board – This is where you can find comprehensive information about available services and treatment for substance abuse and other mental health concerns.
● New Horizons/Lancaster Location – New Horizons is a non-profit that partners with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to provide additional mental health-related services in the area (the Lancaster location is the office closest to Delaware County).
● Mid-Ohio Psychological Services – This agency provides mental health and substance abuse services throughout Central Ohio.
● The Center for Family Safety and Healing – This Center is located in Columbus, and it helps promote healthy family relationships by offering counseling for children and families.
● The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) – RAINN is a national organization that provides support and services for sexual abuse victims of all ages.
Keeping up with the latest crime-related news in Delaware County can help you become more aware and better informed about wide-ranging issues related to applicable criminal laws. Consider all of the following incidents:
● Detectives in Delaware County recently solved a 36-year-old case of a slain 15-year-old boy. John A. Muncie was only 15 when he went missing from his neighborhood on Columbus’s East Side. While his dismembered body was found, the case went cold for 36 years due to a lack of substantial evidence. With the advent of highly accurate DNA testing and sophisticated genealogical data, Delaware County was able to definitively pinpoint the boy’s assailant after all these years. The criminal in question died in 2013, so he did not face charges, but the family of the slain boy was extremely grateful for the care, concern, and closure that the Delaware County Sheriff’s detectives were able to ultimately provide.
● In June, 100s of protesters peacefully gathered in downtown Delaware in an appeal for justice in the death of George Floyd and an end to police violence. This is but one of a series of nationwide protests related to the Black Lives Matter movement. Delaware police officers were on the scene, and at least one expressed the department’s outrage over Floyd’s death.
● Governor DeWine recently announced that although the number of COVID-19-related hospitalizations had been slowing down since it peaked in June, it’s now on the rise again (in direct relation to increased numbers in rural Ohio hospitals). Ohioans are reminded to social distance, avoid large groups, socialize outside whenever possible, wear masks in public, and remain vigilant in their handwashing practices.
If either you or your child has a hearing date in a Delaware County court, knowing where to go and what to expect is critical. The following contact information can help:
Delaware County Juvenile Court
145 N. Union St.
Delaware, OH 43015
Delaware County Municipal Court
1 South Sandusky Street
Delaware, OH 43015
For general information related to the court, call 740.203.1000 or visit the website. The court’s key personnel include:
Delaware County Court of Common Pleas
117 N. Union St., Level 400
Delaware, OH 43015
To obtain general information about the court, call 740-833-2025, or visit the website. The court’s key personnel include:
● Joseph N. Perry, Director of Adult Court Services (probation)
Our dedicated legal team is committed to skillfully guiding your case toward a favorable resolution – regardless of which court your case is filed with or what kind of charges you face.
Whether you’re facing a charge related to traffic or ordinance violation, a misdemeanor, or a felony, the criminal justice system is not on your side, and the potential consequences of a conviction are far too serious to simply hope for the best. At Joslyn Law Firm, we’re committed to effectively and efficiently protecting your legal rights in support of a beneficial case resolution. We have an impressive record of successfully helping clients like you in Delaware County’s juvenile court, municipal court, and the Court of Common Pleas, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 614-444-1900 for more information today.