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For nearly ten years, the Columbus Criminal defense team has been representing clients in the Licking County Municipal Court. During that time, we have successfully represented clients on charges ranging from OVI / DUI, to theft, drug possession and paraphernalia and most any other criminal charges as well.
In most cases, you will receive a ticket or summons informing you of your arraignment date. Your case starts with an arraignment, which is where your charges will be heard initially by either Judge Higgins or Judge Stansbury. The judges rotate their arraignments.
At your arraignment, you will plead “not guilty,” “guilty” or “no contest.” One advantage of hiring the Columbus Criminal defense team is that unless it is decided to be in your best to resolve your case with a guilty plea in arraignment, you usually will not have to miss work or school to show up for your initial arraignment court date. We are able to continue your arraignment to a more convenient date and in many cases, plead your case “not guilty” or in your absence.
In some cases, you are arrested and taken to jail, or the prosecutor files your charges and issues a warrant for your arrest. If your charges are filed with a warrant, we will work toward getting this set aside and having an in court arraignment instead. If you have to turn yourself in, we will work to make sure you spend as little time as possible in jail while awaiting your arraignment.
If you are in jail, at your arraignment, you will plead “not guilty” and receive a bond to secure your appearance at future court dates. At your Licking County Municipal Court 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 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 Judge Stansbury 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, if Judge Higgins 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 may also require additional bond conditions while your case is pending, such as a requirement to wear a GPS or monitoring device, stay away from a prosecuting witness or refrain from using drugs or alcohol.
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 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.