Your Rights in Court
(Adapted from the "Your Rights in Court" pamphlet)

This may be the first time you have ever appeared in Court and it is the purpose of this page to inform you of your RIGHTS AND OF COURT PROCEDURE.

This Court is convened to accept the pleas of those who have been arrested and charged with committing misdemeanor violations within the jurisdiction.

You have already received a copy of the Complaint or Complaints which have been filed against you; therefore, when your name is called, you are to come forward and stand before the Bench.

PLEAS

You will be asked to enter one of three pleas. The court of pleas are as follows:
  1. NOT GUILTY: This plea is a denial of guilt. If you enter this plea, your case will be set for pre-trial or trial at a later date.
  2. GUILTY: This plea is a complete admission of guilt. If you enter this plea and are found guilty, you will be permitted to make a statement prior to sentencing. In most cases, sentencing will occur at the same time and day that you enter a Guilty plea.
  3. NO CONTEST: This plea is not an admission of guilt, but is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the COMPLAINT. This plea cannot be used against you in any other legal proceeding. If you enter this plea and are found Guilty, you will be permitted to make a statement prior to sentencing.
    (Ditto as in #2 for No Contest Plea)
If you refuse to enter any of the above pleas, the Court will enter a plea of Not Guilty on your behalf, and your case will be set for trial.

Before accepting your plea, the Court must inform you that you have the following rights:

  1. The right to know and understand the charge or charges against you, and the maximum penalties for the charged offenses. To help you, the penalties are reviewed in greater detail at the bottom of this document.
  2. The right to counsel.
  3. The right to be represented by counsel at all critical stages of these proceedings, even if you intend to plead Guilty.
  4. The right to a reasonable continuance to secure counsel.
  5. The right to have counsel assigned to you without cost if you are "indigent" and if jail is a possible sentence. An application for court-appointed counsel may be requested to determine if you qualify for an attorney, if you are charged in Lorain County. If you are charged in Erie County you will be given information to contact the Public Defenders Office.
  6. The right to a Jury Trial in any case where a jail sentence is possible. A demand for Jury Trial must be in writing and filed with the Clerk along with a fee not less than ten days before Trial.
  7. The right to waive a Jury Trial and have your case tried before a Judge. Failure to properly demand a Jury Trial will result in your case being tried before a Judge.
  8. The right to remain silent and make no statement at any point in the proceeding. Any statement made may be used against you.
  9. The right to confront the witnesses against you.
  10. The right to present witnesses and have the Court subpoena witnesses on your behalf.
  11. The right to bail.
  12. If you are convicted of a traffic violation, a record of the conviction will be sent to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and become a part of your driving record.
  13. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you should be advised that a conviction may result in deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States.
Penalties Fines   Jail
Misdemeanor 1 $0.00 - $1,000.00   0 - 180 Days
Misdemeanor 2 $0.00 - $750.00   0 - 90 Days
Misdemeanor 3 $0.00 - $500.00   0 - 60 Days
Misdemeanor 4 $0.00 - $250.00   0 - 30 Days
Minor Misdemeanor $0.00 - $150.00   NONE
Penalties for Contempt Fines   Jail
1st Offense $0.00 - $250.00   0 - 30 Days
2nd Offense $0.00 - $500.00   0 - 60 Days
3rd Offense $0.00 - $1,000.00   0 - 90 Days
Penalties for O.V.I Fines   Jail
1st Offense $325.00 - $1,000.00   3 Days - 6 Months
2nd Offense $425.00 - $1,500.00   10 Days - 6 Months
3rd Offense $625.00 - $2,500.00   30 Days - 1 Year
Penalties for D.U.S. Fines   Jail
1st Offense $0.00 - $1,000.00   0 Days - 180 Days
Note: There are mandatory license suspensions for O.V.I. Offenses