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Common Pleas Courts only handle felony cases. In Ohio, an F5 is the least severe felony charge and an F1 is the most severe. The penalties (prison, fine etc.) increase by the degree of felony you are charged with.
|Degree||Prison Time||Maximum Fine|
|First Degree||3-11 Years||$20,000|
|Second Degree||2-8 Years||$10,000|
|Fourth Degree||6-18 Months||$5,000|
|Fifth Degree||6-12 Months||$2,500|
* depending on type of third degree felony charge
Municipal Courts only handle misdemeanor cases. In Ohio, a minor misdemeanor is the least severe misdemeanor charge and a First Degree Misdemeanor is the most severe. The penalties (jail, fine etc.) increase by the degree of misdemeanor.
|Degree||Jail Time||Maximum Fine|
|First Degree||Up to 180 days||$1,000|
|Second Degree||Up to 90 days||$750|
|Third Degree||Up to 60 days||$500|
|Fourth Degree||Up to 30 days||$250|
If you’re not sure why you were assigned one court instead of the other—for instance, Franklin County Municipal Court instead of the Dublin Mayor’s Court, a few factors usually go into this decision.
The most important factor in determining where your case is scheduled is the county where you were charged. If you are charged in Franklin County, your case will never be assigned in Delaware County and vice versa.
Another factor in determining where your case is scheduled is which jurisdiction the police officer who arrested you is employed by. Keeping with the Dublin example, if a City of Dublin police officer arrests you in Dublin, your case would likely start at the Dublin Mayor’s Court. However, if a City of Columbus police officer, Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy or Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper arrests you; your case would be scheduled in Franklin County Municipal Court.