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Central Ohio Court System

Select your court in the map above to read more about how
it conducts criminal proceedings.

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.

Ohio Felony Sentencing

Degree Prison Time Maximum Fine
First Degree 3-11 Years $20,000
Second Degree 2-8 Years $10,000
Third Degree

9-36 Months
12-60 months*

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.

Ohio Misdemeanor Sentencing

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
Minor Misdemeanor None $150

If you’re charged with an OVI DUI, criminal or traffic offense in Ohio, your case will begin at arraignment. At arraignment you have the choice of pleading guilty, not guilty or no contest. If you plead guilty or no contest the magistrate or judge has the option to go and sentence you at that time.

If you plead not guilty, your case will then be set for a pretrial. At the pretrial yourself and your attorney, will have the opportunity to come in and discuss the case with the prosecutor. When I go and represent a client, our goal is to begin negotiating the dismissal or reduction of your case at the pretrial.

If the prosecutor does not agree to go in reduce or dismiss the case, it will then be set for a suppression hearing or a jury trial. At that time the officer who arrested you, the judge, the prosecutor and your attorney will all be present and be ready to go forward and have a trial on your case.

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.

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Luftman, Heck & Associates LLP
580 E Rich St Fl 2
Columbus, OH 43215-5335


FAX: (614) 413-2886