Your Rights in Court
This general announcement is made in order to briefly explain your rights in Court and the procedure this Court follows.
When your name is called, please step forward to the Judge's bench where the Court will read the Affidavit or Complaint filed against you, explain the nature of the charge, and advise you of the nature and extent of possible punishment upon conviction. If you desire, you may see and read the Affidavit or Complaint filed against you.
Every person who is charged with a criminal offense is entitled to be represented by an attorney of his own selection. You are not required to have an attorney in this Court. However, if you wish to engage the services of an attorney and have not done so, you should disclose this to the Court when your case is called. You are not entitled to a public defender except in serious offenses and only if you can establish that you cannot afford your own counsel.
If you do not request a continuance to obtain an attorney or for any other reason, you will be expected to enter a plea to the charges as read and explained to you by the Judge.
All misdemeanor cases are tried by the Judge but, if the violation with which you are charged has a fine in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00) or a possible jail term, you are entitled to have a jury of eight (8) try your case if you so desire. Requests for jury trial must be filed in writing with this Court not less than ten (10) days before the date of trial or three (3) days after you receive notice of trial, whichever is later.
If you are convicted of a moving violation, points will be certified to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Columbus and, if you accumulate more than twelve (12) points within a twenty-four (24) month period, the Bureau will suspend your right to drive in the State of Ohio for six (6) months.
If you accumulate twelve (12) points within a twenty-four (24) month period, you must do the following before you will be able to reinstate your driving privileges:
- Maintain High Risk Insurance for a period of five (5) years;
- Complete a Remedial Driving Course;
- Retake the Driver's Test.
Misdemeanor Cases (Including Traffic)
A misdemeanor is a violation of a criminal statute that has as its maximum penalty a jail sentence of not more than one (1) year. Misdemeanor cases include most traffic violations. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, this Court has final jurisdiction to hear and dispose of your case.
In misdemeanor cases, you may enter any one of the following pleas: (1) Guilty; (2) Not Guilty; and (3) No Contest.
If you plead "Guilty" or "No Contest," you waive your constitutional rights and this Court will dispose of your case immediately by hearing the statements of the complaining witness (police).
If you enter a plea of "Not Guilty," your case will be continued at a later date at which time the State or City will present its case against you and you will have the opportunity, if you desire, to present your defense to the charges and call witnesses. You have the right to subpoena witnesses who do not want to appear voluntarily. Sometimes pleas of "No Contest" can be entered. This is common when you are involved in an accident or where there is damage to persons or property. A plea of "No Contest" is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the Affidavit or Complaint and such admission cannot be used against you in any subsequent civil proceeding. If you plead "Guilty," you admit your guilt and the facts in the case. If you plead "No Contest," you do not admit your guilt. But, if the report from the complaining witness (police) is sufficient to find you guilty, you will be found guilty. With either plea, you will be allowed to explain any circumstances which you feel this Court should take into consideration before passing sentence.
Every person who operates a motor vehicle must have insurance. The consequences for failing to have liability insurance are as follows:
- Suspension of all driving rights for ninety (90) days;
- Proof of High Risk Insurance for five (5) years;
- Payment of Reinstatement fee to B.M.V.
In essence what this means is that, if you operate a motor vehicle without insurance, your license to drive will be suspended for five (5) years. As you can imagine, this is extremely costly to you and will run you far in excess of what insurance premiums cost. Another consideration is looking into an Insurance Bond. If you have any questions, please ask the Judge when you approach the Bench.
This Court is not conducted as a source of revenue. This Court was established by State law and the Judge and all other Court employees are paid a fixed salary. No part of any fine or Court costs are retained by the Judge, Court employees, Prosecutor, Police Official, or any other public official. All fines and costs collected are paid and distributed to the Villages, Cities, Geauga County, and the State of Ohio as provided by law.
Court Costs (In Addition to Fines)
|Criminal / Non-Moving Traffic
First charge includes twenty-four dollars ($24.00) for General and Victim's fund.
Additional costs may incur for subpoenas, motions, jury trials, etc. when a plea of NOT GUILTY is entered.
Payments can be made in person or by mailing a check or money order made payable to Chardon Municipal Court.
We will gladly accept cash or credit card IN PERSON. This office accepts Visa, MasterCard, and Discover only. Effective June 1, 2010, a 4% convenience fee will be assessed to all Credit Card customers pursuant to O.R.C. 2929.28 (F)(2). The fee is nonrefundable.
This web page is issued in accordance with Rules 10 and 11, Ohio Criminal Rules of Procedure, adopted July 1, 1973, and should not be taken as a substitute for legal counsel. It is not intended to advise anyone on a specific legal problem or to suggest a particular course of action.