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345 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Having dealt with the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas for almost 10 years, the Columbus Criminal defense team has successfully represented clients on cases there from theft, possession and trafficking of drugs and generally anything else that falls under the criminal spectrum. A variety of judges and magistrates, along with Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien and many assistant prosecutors ensure that court affairs are run fairly and efficiently.
In most cases, you will receive a summons with a copy of your indictment informing you of your arraignment date. Your case will typically start with an arraignment, which is where your charges will be read in front of a judge or magistrate and you will plead “not guilty.” If you receive a summons, one advantage of hiring a Columbus Criminal defense attorney from Luftman, Heck & Associates is that you will not have to show up for your arraignment during restrictive hours. We will be able to plead your case not guilty at a time between 8AM and 5PM that works with your schedule.
In some cases the prosecutors will indict your case and then issue a warrant for your arrest. In these cases, we will work toward getting this set aside and having an in court arraignment instead. If you have to turn yourself in, felony arraignments are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1:00PM. We work to make sure you spend as little time as possible in jail while awaiting your arraignment.
At your arraignment, you will plead “not guilty” and receive a bond to secure your appearance at future court dates. At your Franklin County arraignment and prior to setting your bond the judge or magistrate will expect your attorney to provide your background information. You are likely to be given to be given a recognizance, appearance or cash or surety bond.
A recognizance or signature bond, is one where you are not required to put up any money or collateral and are instead released on your own signature and promise to appear at all of your court dates.
An appearance bond is one where you are required to post an amount with the court to ensure your appearance at all of your court dates. Generally this amount is ten percent of the total bond. For example, if the magistrate states you have a $10,000 appearance bond, you or someone on your behalf would have to post $1,000 plus processing fees to the court to secure your release. If you miss a court date, the money posted with the court can be forfeited. After your case is over, a significant portion of the appearance bond will be refunded to whoever deposited it.
Lastly, a cash or surety bond is one where you will likely have to hire a bail bondsman to secure your release. Generally, you will have to pay the bail bondsman ten percent of the total bond and the bail bondman will post the remainder. For example, the magistrate states you have a $10,000 cash or surety bond, you or someone on your behalf would have to pay a bail bondsman $1,000 plus processing to secure your release. Your money will not be refunded after your case is over. If you miss your court date, it is the bail bondsman’s responsibility to find you and bring you before the court.
Your arraignment judge or magistrate may also require additional bond conditions while your case is pending, such as a requirement to wear a GPS or monitoring device, test randomly for drugs or report to the probation department.
The next step is for the case to be set for a pre-trial or status conference. Before this date, a motion for discovery will be filed on your behalf and all of the state’s evidence will be received. You will receive a copy of all of the police reports, investigative notes, DVDs or CDs received for your review. Generally, if possible, we like our clients to email a detailed summary of the events, thoughts on the discovery as well as some positive biographical information. Typically, we will set up a telephone or office meeting to discuss the status of your case.
At the pre-trial, we discuss any and all legal issues and mitigating circumstances with the assistant prosecutor your case is assigned to. If the prosecutor agrees there are issues, then we can work on getting the charge(s) dismissed, lessening the offense(s) to one that doesn’t carry mandatory prison time, or making a joint recommendation for no jail or prison time.
If the case is not resolved after this, it would proceed to a motion hearing (a hearing where the judge issues a ruling on an evidentiary issue) or a trial to the judge or jury, depending on the circumstances.