Many people in Fairfield County find themselves facing criminal charges or traffic violations. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system in the United States does not favor defendants, and too many people end up with unnecessarily harsh outcomes of criminal cases. Even if a case seems minor, you can expect the prosecutor to aggressively seek a conviction and serious penalties. This means it is critical for you to have aggressive defense representation to protect your rights.
The Joslyn Law Firm defends against allegations in the Fairfield County Juvenile Court, Fairfield County Municipal Court, and the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas. We represent clients in the following cities, among others:
We can help in many situations, including if you believe you have a warrant, you were arrested and accused of a crime, you were cited for traffic or ordinance violations, or if your child or another loved one faces allegations. We are highly familiar with the inner-workings and personnel at each of the Fairfield courts, which allows us to provide the highest quality of representation for our clients.
Fairfield County Criminal Defense Attorneys
The Joslyn Law Firm represents adults and juveniles in Central Ohio who face all types of criminal charges. Led by award-winning lawyer Brian Joslyn, our firm focuses on criminal defense matters, and we give every case the attention it needs, whether it is a relatively minor misdemeanor or a violent felony. We have obtained notable victories in a wide range of criminal cases, and you can trust we will do everything possible to defend your specific case.
If you or your child has been arrested in Fairfield County, your first call should be Joslyn Law Firm at (614) 444-1900. We are ready to evaluate your case and begin protecting your rights and interests in Fairfield County. We will help you understand your charges and possible outcomes, as well as identify the strongest possible defense strategy. Contact our Fairfield County criminal defense lawyers right away.
Fairfield County Criminal Courts Information Center
The following is some general information about Fairfield County and its criminal court system. To discuss your specific case, please contact our office directly.
- Fairfield County Overview and General information
- Common Criminal Charges in Fairfield County
- Penalties for Criminal Convictions in Fairfield County
- Warrants in Fairfield County
- Hiring a Fairfield County Criminal Defense Attorney
- Fairfield County Criminal Defense Q&A
- Fairfield County Law Enforcement and Other Agencies
- Fairfield County Resources
- Fairfield County News
- Fairfield County Court Location and Contact Information
Fairfield County is made up of several municipalities and is home to about 157,500 Ohioans who enjoy the amenities the area has to offer. The County government is composed of many agencies and departments aimed to keep the communities safe, including law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and courts, many of which operate from the county seat of Lancaster.
Even though Fairfield County is considered to be a safe and family-oriented area, crimes do happen, and many people are arrested and charged with various offenses, ranging from minor to serious. The following were reported in Lancaster in a recent year:
● 44 rapes
● 21 robberies
● 51 assaults
● 262 burglaries
● 1369 thefts
● 56 auto thefts
● 10 arson acts
While no murders were reported in this particular year, there have been six murders reported in Lancaster since 2008, not including vehicular homicides or manslaughter.
Crime does happen in Fairfield County, and when it does, criminal cases can be heard by different courts, depending on the circumstances. For example, minors accused of crimes (who are not charged as adults) will have their cases overseen by the Fairfield County Juvenile Court. Other cases involving traffic violations, ordinance violations, or misdemeanor criminal offenses are held in Fairfield County Municipal Court. Cases involving felony offenses are scheduled in the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas.
No matter which court is overseeing your or your child’s case, it is imperative that you have the right defense attorney who regularly represents clients in that particular Fairfield County court. You want the lawyers from Joslyn Law Firm on your side.
Ohio state law sets out many different criminal offenses, as well as traffic regulations that can lead to cases in court. Fairfield County and individual cities also have regulations of their own, and violations can lead to a municipal court case.
Juveniles can be charged with any crime, just like adults can, and some juveniles who face serious criminal charges might have their cases transferred to adult court. However, there are some offenses that are common for juveniles, and that might only apply to juvenile cases, such as:
- Violating civil protection order
- Habitual truancy
- Driving without a driver’s license
- Possessing or using a fake ID
- Underage drinking
- Underage alcohol possession
- Underage operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI)
- Drug possession, distribution, selling, or cultivation
- Disorderly conduct
- Domestic assault
- Gross sexual imposition
- Rape and sexual assault
- Probation violations
Whether your child faces allegations of truancy or a violent felony, their future depends on the defense representation they have.
Municipal courts hear cases in which defendants face charges of ordinance violations, traffic violations and offenses, as well as misdemeanor offenses. Felony offenses and some misdemeanor cases will be scheduled in the Court of Common Pleas. The following are different types of cases that our legal team handles in the Fairfield County Municipal Court and Court of Common Pleas.
Cases involving municipal ordinance violations take place in Municipal Court, including:
● Making false alarms or reports
● Failure to report a crime, injury, or knowledge of a death
● Failure to aid a law enforcement officer
● Disturbing a lawful meeting
● Obstructing official business or obstructing justice
● Noxious and offensive odors
● Noise ordinance violations
● Weeds and landscaping nuisances
● Hunting animals within city limits
● Failure to control an animal
● Abandoning an animal
● Operating charity raffles or bingo games in violation of existing regulations
● Gambling, public gaming, cheating, and other gaming violations
● Discharging weapons within city limits
These violations can result in costly penalties, which can increase if you have been found guilty of such violations in the past. While an ordinance violation might not seem like a serious matter, you should never accept unnecessary penalties for any type of accusation in Municipal Court. Always present your best defense.
Traffic offenses are some of the most common cases in Fairfield County Municipal Court. Drivers are expected to abide by many different traffic laws, so they can also face a wide variety of violations. Some traffic citations are infractions, meaning the court can only impose fines. However, others constitute criminal offenses, and probation, jail time, or license suspension by the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) might be possible penalties. Some common traffic violations include:
● Following too closely
● Failure to yield the right of way
● Failure to yield to pedestrians
● Obstructing an intersection
● Failure to stop at a stop sign or red light
● Crossing a divided highway
● Crossing a yellow line
● Illegal turns
● One-way traffic violations
● Improper passing
● Passing a stopped school bus
● Registration, tag, sticker and title violations
● Equipment violations (headlights, taillights, license plate lights, etc.)
● Driving with an obstructed view
● Driving with headphones
● Drag racing
Some traffic offenses that can be charged as misdemeanor crimes that we defend against in Municipal Court include:
Operating a vehicle under the influence/Driving under the influence (OVI/DUI) is a highly common misdemeanor traffic offense in Fairfield County Municipal Court, and an OVI conviction can have serious consequences. A conviction can mean fines, license suspension, probation, and possible jail time, among other penalties. If there are aggravating factors in your OVI case, it might become a felony and be heard in the Court of Common Pleas instead of Municipal Court. Our legal team can help with our case in either situation.
There are many different criminal offenses that can be charged as misdemeanors, which include minor misdemeanors, fourth-degree misdemeanors, third-degree misdemeanors, second-degree misdemeanors, or first-degree misdemeanors, with first-degree cases being the most serious. Even a so-called “minor” misdemeanor can be costly and result in a criminal record. These cases are generally handled in Municipal Court.
Assault and Battery – This charge applies when you are accused of threatening or causing harmful or offensive contact with another person.
Domestic violence – Domestic violence charges arise due to accusations that you committed assault and battery (or a similar offense) against someone who is a member of your family or household, or a current or former romantic partner.
Petty theft – When items that were allegedly stolen are worth less than $1,000, it is a misdemeanor offense referred to as “petty theft.” However, there is nothing petty about these charges as you can still face probation, costly fines, and time in jail.
Marijuana Crimes – While marijuana is legalized in several states, you can still face minor misdemeanor charges for possession of marijuana, and the charges can increase depending on prior convictions and the amount of marijuana possessed.
Possession of a Controlled Substance – Marijuana is not the only type of drug case heard by Municipal Courts in Ohio, as possession of other prescription medications or narcotics can also result in misdemeanor possession charges.
Possessing Drug Paraphernalia or Drug Abuse Instruments – Not only is possessing drugs themselves unlawful, but so is possessing instruments or items that help you use drugs. Drug paraphernalia can result in a separate misdemeanor charge.
Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor – While most sex offenses are charged as felonies, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor (also called statutory rape) can be a misdemeanor charge.
Criminal Trespass – This charge arises when someone is accused of entering property or remaining on property without permission. This might be a lesser charge to burglary if the prosecutor cannot prove you intended to commit a crime on the property.
Resisting Arrest – If you try to avoid an arrest or interfere with the arrest of another person by a law enforcement officer, you can face charges of resisting arrest.
Disorderly Conduct – This is a misdemeanor charge that encompasses many types of behaviors, including conduct that causes inconvenience, offense, or alarm to members of the public.
Criminal Mischief – Another charge that can apply to different types of conduct is criminal mischief. This charge can be filed for alleged acts such as using smoke bombs or tear gas and hacking, among others.
If a prosecutor wants to file felony charges, they must first go through a grand jury or preliminary hearing. After obtaining a felony indictment, the felony case can move forward in the Court of Common Pleas. The following are only some of the many examples of felony cases we take on in Fairfield County.
Drug charges – Many drug charges, including possession, possession with the intent to distribute, trafficking, and manufacture, can result in felony charges.
Weapons and gun charges – While Ohio has important gun rights, the law also sets out many restrictions when it comes to possessing or using weapons and firearms. If you possess a weapon when you are banned or use a weapon during a crime, you can face serious felony charges.
Theft and fraud offenses – When you are accused of stealing money or property worth more than $1,000, you can face felony theft charges, which is sometimes referred to as grand theft. Theft crimes can also involve the use of fraud to obtain money or property that is not yours. Robbery is one of the most serious theft crimes, as it also involves violence or threats against another person to take their property.
Financial crimes – Often referred to as white collar crimes, financial crimes can involve defrauding individuals, corporations, or agencies to obtain money. Financial offenses can also include embezzlement, forgery, bribery, and more.
Property crimes – Some crimes target property, not people, though they can also result in felony charges. These include arson, burglary, and vandalism/destruction of property. Robbery
Sex crimes – Even being accused of a sex offense can cause harm to your reputation and future, and a conviction for such an offense can significantly impact your future, including where you can work and live. Such charges might include prostitution, child pornography, and sexual assault (rape).
There are numerous other felony offenses that we defend against in the Fairfield County Court of Common Pleas. No matter how serious your case might be, we are ready to fight for your rights and seek the best possible outcome for you.
When you are convicted of a crime – either by a jury or due to a guilty plea – the Municipal Court or Common Pleas Court judge will set your sentence. There are many factors that go into sentencing, and it is important to have a skilled criminal defense lawyer advocating for the least serious sentence possible to the judge.
The law sets out maximum penalties for each degree of charge, though the judge has the discretion to order a lesser sentence in most cases. The following are some examples of maximum penalties you could face for a misdemeanor conviction in Municipal Court:
● First-Degree Misdemeanor –$1000 fine and up to six months of imprisonment
● Second-Degree Misdemeanor – $750 fine and up to 90 days of imprisonment
● Third-Degree Misdemeanor – $500 fine and up to 60 days of imprisonment
● Fourth-Degree Misdemeanor – $250 fine and up to 30 days of imprisonment
● Minor Misdemeanor – $150 fine and no possible imprisonment
Below are the maximum penalties you can receive for felony criminal charges in the Court of Common Pleas:
● First-Degree Felony – Fines up to $20,000 and three to 11 years of imprisonment (with possible enhancements up to ten years for repeat violent offenders)
● Second-Degree Felony – Fines up to $15,000 and two to eight years of imprisonment (with possible enhancements up to ten years for repeat violent offenders)
● Third-Degree Felony – Fines up to $10,000 and nine to 60 months of imprisonment (with possible enhancements up to ten years for repeat violent offenders)
● Fourth-Degree Felony – Fines up to $5,000 and nine to 18 months of imprisonment
● Fifth-Degree Felony – Fines up to $2,500 and six to 12 months of imprisonment
If a child’s case is heard in Juvenile Court, they can have fines and detention imposed just like adult defendants, though the penalties might be slightly less severe. There are also different types of consequences they might face, such as:
● Committing the ch