Franklin County Municipal Court
If you have been charged with a criminal offense or a DUI / OVI offense in the Franklin County Municipal Court, this page will provide you with information regarding that court. Before you appear in court, and before you hire a lawyer for a case in the Franklin County Municipal Court, reading the information provided throughout this website will help you educate yourself about the charges, the possible consequences, the possible defenses, the court process, and hiring an attorney.Contact Information For The Franklin County Municipal Court
Address: 375 South High Street, Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 645-8186
Website: Franklin County Municipal Court
The Franklin County Municipal Court hears misdemeanor criminal cases and misdemeanor DUI / OVI cases when the alleged offense occurred in Franklin County. Common types of cases heard in this court include:
- DUI / OVI
- Vehicular homicide
- Vehicular assault
- Underage drinking
- Misdemeanor drug offenses
In this court, there are 15 judges. For the arraignment, the judges take turns presiding in the arraignment courtrooms for one week at a time. After the arraignment, cases are randomly assigned to one of the 15 judges. The judge assigned to a case is assigned permanently.
The prosecutor assigned to a case varies. If the offense occurred within the city of Columbus, the case will be prosecuted by the Columbus City Attorney’s Office, and that office has an assistant prosecutor assigned to each courtroom. If the offense occurred in a city or village other than Columbus, that city or village is responsible for prosecuting the case. Some cities and villages have a contract with the city of Columbus to prosecute their cases, and other cities and villages have their own attorneys who prosecute cases in the Municipal Court.Typical Case Process
Arraignment: The first court appearance is the arraignment. At the arraignment, you are given three choices: (1) plead guilty or no contest; (2) plead not guilty; and (3) continue the arraignment for up to 30 days. If you plead guilty or no contest, the judge will likely impose the sentence that day, and the case will be finished. If you plead not guilty or continue the arraignment, you will have the opportunity to hire a lawyer, evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s evidence, and prepare a defense. If you were charged with DUI / OVI and are contesting the charge, you should also appeal the Administrative License Suspension.
Pretrial hearing: If you plead not guilty at the arraignment, the next hearing is a pretrial hearing. The pretrial hearing is an opportunity for you or your lawyer to discuss the case with the prosecuting attorney and negotiate an agreed resolution (a plea bargain). If you reach an agreement, the case will likely be finished that day. If you do not reach an agreement, the case will be scheduled for a motion hearing (if you filed motions regarding legal issues) or a trial.
Motion hearing: If you filed motions regarding legal issues (e.g., motions to suppress evidence) and the case was not resolved at the pretrial hearing, the next stage of the case is a motion hearing. At the motion hearing, witnesses will testify, the lawyers will argue to the judge regarding the motions, and the judge will make decisions about the contested legal issues. The motion hearing is also another opportunity to reach a plea agreement.
Trial: If your case is not resolved before this stage, a trial will be held to determine whether you are guilty or not guilty. You have the right to a trial, and if the offense carries possible incarceration, you have the right to a trial by jury. You are presumed innocent, and the prosecution has the burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Sentence hearing: If you plead guilty or no contest to an offense, or if you are found guilty, the judge will hold a sentence hearing. At the sentence hearing, the prosecution and defense make statements to the judge, and the judge imposes the sentence. The sentence hearing may be held on the same day as one of the other hearings, or it may be scheduled for a later date.
DUI / OVI cases: For more information about the court process specifically for DUI / OVI cases, please see the DUI / OVI court process page.Attorney For Cases In The Franklin County Municipal Court
Our practice is focused on DUI / OVI defense and criminal defense, and we regularly represent clients (including college students) in the Franklin County Municipal Court. For more information about us, please see our profile, and for more details about the practice, please see the firm overview. You can also see what clients say and review past case results. We limit the number of cases we accept so we can provide personal service to our clients. Based on our personal service and expertise, our fees are at the high end of the fee scale. If you would like to discuss how we can help with your case in the Franklin County Municipal Court, EMAIL US or call the Dominy Law Firm at 614-717-1177 to arrange a free phone consultation.