Court FAQ

Court Appearances

What can I do if I cannot be at court? I’m scheduled for Court this afternoon and I’m on Interstate 70 in Kansas City, Missouri with a load of dog food, bound for Terre Haute?

Traffic or Criminal Cases: If you are scheduled for a Court appearance for a criminal or traffic case and you are legitimately and unavoidably detained, file a written request for a continuance with the Clerk’s office immediately. You may Fax this request to the Court (330-225-1108). Your request will be reviewed and ruled upon by the judge or magistrate. If your request is granted, you will be notified of your next Court appearance by mail.

Civil or Small Claims Cases: If you are scheduled for a Court appearance for a Civil or Small Claims case and you are legitimately and unavoidably detained, file a written request for a continuance with the Clerk’s office immediately. There is a fee of $10.00 required at the time you file your request. Your request will be reviewed and ruled upon by the judge or magistrate. If your request is granted, you will be notified of your next Court appearance by mail.

OVI

What are the penalties for OVI offenses?

OVI Penalties (click here)

How does the ignition interlock work? How much does it cost?

When an interlock machine is installed in an automobile, the driver must periodically blow into the machine. If any alcohol is detected in the driver’s breath, the interlock machine will shut the car off. The defendant must pay for the installation of the machine and daily fees. The Court uses three different companies for its interlock orders. If the interlock system is ordered, the defendant will receive specific information about it when arranging his/her driving privileges with the bailiff.

If my license has been suspended by this Court as a result of a OVI conviction, how can I obtain work driving privileges?

The judge will usually address this issue when he imposes the sentence. You must see the bailiff to discuss the details [see below]. Requests for limited driving privileges after sentencing are usually granted if the defendant has paid all fines and costs in full.

If you have not been sentenced and you wish to request limited driving privileges, you must file a written petition for occupational privileges. The filing fee is $83 and forms are available from the clerks at the civil window. Your request will be set for a hearing before the magistrate, who will rule on your request.

What is the proper procedure to follow to reinstate my driver’s license?

If the BMV suspended your license, you must contact that agency for reinstatement information. (Click here to go to the BMV HomePage) If your license was cancelled by this Court for your failure to appear or pay your fines and court costs, then you must personally appear and see the magistrate (if you failed to appear) or pay all your fines and court costs to reinstate your license.

When is the best time to come in to see the bailiff to arrange driving privileges if a petition for privileges has been granted?

The bailiffs meet with petitioners on a first-come, first-serve basis between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is a sign-in sheet in the lobby by the Traffic/Criminal window.

Probation

Can a defendant be ordered to serve time in jail instead of being on probation?

This is up to the discretion of the judge or magistrate at the time of sentencing. Defendants who are found to have violated the terms of their probation may be ordered to serve a jail sentence.

How does home arrest work?

Home arrest allows defendants to go to and from work, but they are restricted from leaving home for any other reason. This allows defendants to stay employed, restricts their freedom somewhat (as a jail sentence would), requires that the defendants pay for the cost of home arrest, and saves taxpayers the cost of feeding and housing defendants in jail. This program is supervised by the Probation Department.

Are appointments for the Probation Department available on Saturday or Sunday?

No. See “Court Hours” on the Visiting the Court page.

Can I probate someone through the probation department?

No. Probation is a process used by courts in cases where a defendant has been found guilty of a traffic or criminal offense. “Probate”  — in the context of this question — involves a civil action in the Probate Division of the Common Pleas Court.

Jury Service

Is anyone excused from jury service? What if I am unable to appear?

Ohio law no longer allows court to excuse anyone from jury service.

Rescheduling: The Court does allow a one-time rescheduling (for vacation, work commitment, doctor appointment, etc.) but this request must be in writing. If you are requesting to be rescheduled, write a short note on the summons and explain the reason you are making the request. Also note any other future dates that you are unavailable so we don’t reschedule to a date that would be inconvenient for you. When we receive your request, we will put your name on the list of available jurors and contact you if you are rescheduled.

College students: College students are rescheduled during their break times.

Medical Excuse: If you need to be excused from jury service due to your medical condition, mail in a signed doctor’s excuse stating that you are unable to serve on a jury due to your medical condition or that your medical condition prevents you from serving on a jury. A note that simply states that you have a medical condition will not be sufficient. Attach that excuse to the page of the summons that you are to sign and return both in the self-addressed stamped envelope. When we receive this, we will remove your name from the list for that day.

What do I do with my children when I come in for jury service?

There are no facilities at the court to keep children occupied, so please make arrangements for your children to be taken care of on your day of jury service.

Warrants

Must a defendant personally appear in Court to get a warrant recalled?

Yes, if the warrant was issued because of a failure to appear. If the warrant was issued because the defendant failed to appear, the defendant must either post the bond that is stated on the warrant or personally appear in court. If bond is posted, the court will send the defendant a notice of his/her next court date. He/she may have the warrant recalled by posting the bond at the Court (or at the Medina Police Department or any Ohio police department if the Court is closed).

Fines/Court Costs

If a defendant does not want to pay a fine, can the defendant choose to perform community service instead of paying the fine?

The judge or magistrate may order the defendant to perform community service. The choice is not the defendant’s. If the Court has assessed a fine which the defendant must pay, then the defendant must pay it.

Will the Court grant extensions to defendants who owe fines and court costs?

Although defendants who request time to pay due to financial trouble might be given some initial period after their sentence is imposed in which to pay their fines and costs, they are expected to pay the fines and costs as ordered. On rare occasions, the judge or magistrate will grant defendants additional time to pay.

Why must court costs be paid in cases where waivers are accepted and no court appearance is necessary?

Some court costs are required by the state. Generally, court costs are required because every traffic citation or criminal complaint which is filed with the court must be entered into the court’s computer system, and every document filed in each case must be put in a file, which the Clerk of Court is required to keep as a public record.

What is the proper procedure to follow to reinstate my driver’s license?

If your license was cancelled by this Court for your failure to appear or pay your fines and court costs, then you must personally appear and see the magistrate (if you failed to appear) or pay all your fines and court costs to reinstate your license.

What happens if my fines and court costs are not paid on time?

Your driver’s license may be suspended. If you are a licensed driver of another state, your violation may be reported to that state and your driver’s license suspended until fine and costs are paid. A registration/warrant block may be issued.  This prevents defendants from renewing their driver’s license and obtaining license plates and registration stickers. The case may also be referred to a collection agency.  The collection agency charges an additional fee for its services, as allowed by Ohio law, and the defendant will be required to pay the collection fee plus fines and court costs. A civil judgment may be rendered against you.  This would allow your wages, bank accounts, and other property to be garnished.  The civil judgment would also appear on your credit report.

Forcible Entry and Detainer/Eviction

What Forcible Entry and Detainer/Eviction proceedings require a court appearance?

Forcible Entry and Detainer actions are more commonly called evictions. Ohio law requires that the Court conduct a hearing in every eviction case. The hearing is to determine whether the landlord or the tenant has the right to have possession of the rented property. It is very common for the landlord’s eviction complaint to include additional claims (known as “second” or “additional” causes of action) in the eviction complaint.

Eviction cases that contain an additional cause of action for money damages will only be set for a hearing on the first cause of action, which deals with returning possession of the premises to the plaintiff and other eviction-related issues. These cases will not automatically be set for a hearing on the second (or any additional) cause of action for money. If a defendant does not file an answer within 28 days of service, the Court will simply consider Motions for Default Judgment on the non-eviction issues.

Many cases involve a first-cause hearing at which the parties appear and resolve the eviction issues without a contested hearing. Attorneys and plaintiffs in these types of cases are reminded that Civil Rule 55 requires that these defendants who have appeared must be served with a copy of a Motion for Default Judgment.

Can property managers or rental agents file evictions?

According to a 2002 Supreme Court case (see below for link to the entire opinion), only property owners or their attorneys may file and appear in eviction cases. Property managers, rental agents, and other employees may not file these types of cases or appear in court to represent the property owner.

Cleveland Bar Association v. Picklo http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/0/2002/2002-ohio-3995.pdf

Attorneys – Written Not Guilty Pleas

May I fax a written not guilty plea for my client so we don’t have to appear as scheduled at the original arraignment?

The court accepts written pleas of Not Guilty from attorneys on behalf of their clients if the written plea includes a time waiver. If you a do not include a time waiver, the written plea will not be accepted. Send or fax the written plea and time waiver so that it is received on or before the arraignment date. If a court appearance is still required, for whatever reason, you will be contacted.