Whether you’re a resident of Columbus, Ohio, or the surrounding suburbs – such as Upper Arlington, Dublin, Westerville, or Grove City – finding yourself in handcuffs can be a bewildering experience.
From understanding your rights to knowing where you’ll be taken and even the value of a defense attorney, you’ll need help through the often foreign experience of being charged with a crime in Columbus, Ohio.
At Luftman Heck & Associates, we hope this guide for those caught up in Franklin County’s criminal justice system is valuable. But there’s no substitute for experienced legal representation. Call LHA today at (614) 500-3836 for a free and confidential consultation with a Columbus defense attorney.
You’ve Been Arrested. Now What?
When you are arrested in Columbus or the smaller communities past the Outerbelt, the police will take you into custody. This means you are not free to leave and must deal with the justice system as it applies to the charges levied against you.
The police will typically read you your Miranda rights. That means you have the right to remain silent and to have an attorney. Even if these rights aren’t read during arrest, they apply.
Where You’ll Be Taken
Once someone is taken into custody, they will typically be taken to the nearest police station for booking. This involves fingerprinting, mug-shot photos, and entering you into their system for processing. In Columbus or its suburbs, this usually happens in one of several locations, like the Franklin County Jail downtown or the Franklin County Corrections Center II on Jackson Pike. Smaller towns may have their own facilities. If they don’t, they may use these county facilities.
It’s hard to predict precisely where someone might be taken if they are arrested. The alleged crime, the jurisdiction, the proximity to a facility, and even current detainee populations can influence where you’ll be booked.
The Location of Your Arrest Matters
Columbus is surrounded by suburban communities, each with a distinct atmosphere and police force. Sometimes, the Sheriff’s Office or Ohio State Highway Patrol might be involved, but these municipalities may have different priorities and stances regarding law enforcement.
The location of your arrest can influence where you’ll be taken, how evidence is collected, and how a conviction is pursued. For example, some communities around Columbus use a Mayor’s Court for criminal offenses. They might also prosecute DUIs and minor crimes more aggressively than larger cities where violent crimes take priority.
Columbus/Suburban Police Departments
- Columbus Division of Police
- Franklin County Sheriff’s Office
- Upper Arlington Police Department
- Hilliard Division of Police
- Dublin Police Department
- Worthington Division of Police
- Westerville Division of Police
- Gahanna Police Department
- Reynoldsburg Police Department
- Pickerington Police Department
- Canal Winchester Police Department
- Grove City Division of Police
- Whitehall Police Department
- Bexley Police Department
- New Albany Police Department
- Powell Police Department
- Grandview Heights Police Department
Central Ohio Detention Facilities
- Franklin County Jail – Downtown
- Franklin County Corrections Center II – Jackson Pike
- Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction oversees several state prisons around Columbus. That includes the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville, Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient, and the Chillicothe Correctional Institution in Chillicothe
Police Still Need a Reason to Arrest You
Being arrested is scary. But law enforcement in Columbus nor any of the smaller police departments in the area have free rein to arrest people. For a lawful arrest, they must have ‘probable cause’ to believe a suspect was engaged in criminal activity or have an arrest warrant based on probable cause.
Remember that your constitutional rights apply regardless of why you were arrested. You have the right to withhold self-incriminating statements and the right to legal counsel. You should avoid answering questions until you consult an attorney.
Bail & Court in Columbus, Ohio
Following your arrest and booking, the criminal justice process begins. Whether this is your first arrest or you have priors, you should keep track of any paperwork you’re given and any court dates.
In some cases, you will be released on your own recognizance. Other times, you will be held in custody until you are released on bail. In either scenario, you should be able to communicate with legal counsel.
You’ll typically be arraigned shortly after your arrest. This is where you’ll be formally charged and asked to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. Your attorney is best suited to advise you in this decision and help you understand the implications of each. Once released from custody, you’ll need to be ready to prepare your defense, negotiate with the prosecutor, and defend yourself at trial.
Remember, an arrest isn’t an automatic conviction. The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty. Utilize your right to an attorney and seek legal advice to navigate through the complexities of the judicial system. Most criminal cases are resolved well before trial, usually by a plea. You should explore all your options with an attorney. They can explain how to reduce the charges, secure a dismissal, and alternative penalties like probation and community service.
Choose a Local Defense Lawyer
Every jurisdiction has nuances. So having a Columbus attorney who knows the local court system has advantages.
An attorney familiar with the Central Ohio Courts would understand local procedures, have relationships with prosecutors and judges, and have insight into community attitudes. They would also have familiarity with local police practices, which could prove crucial in challenging evidence.
Call LHA for a Free Consult.
If you or a loved one were recently arrested in or around Columbus, Ohio, our team of defense attorneys is ready to help. LHA is available 24/7 and has assisted countless people in situations like yours. We can help secure your release, advise you of your options, and effectually address any criminal charge in Columbus, its neighboring suburbs, and greater Franklin County, Ohio.