You may go to an Ohio mayor’s court in order to resolve a case without going before a judge. Your case may be taken to a mayor’s court if you are charged with a misdemeanor or traffic violation in a community of 200 people or more, or without a municipal court.
If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, contact our Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates right away. We can evaluate your case and help you throughout the legal process.
Call our attorneys today at (614) 500-3836 to discuss your legal options and schedule a free consultation.
What is a Mayor’s Court?
Mayor’s court cases are usually held before a magistrate or a mayor. The mayors themselves are not required to be a certified lawyer. If your case is not being handled by the mayor, but is being presided over by a magistrate appointed by the mayor, they are required to be a certified lawyer with a minimum of three years of experience. Cases held in a mayor’s court are typically smaller cases such as hearing regarding misdemeanors or traffic violations.
Types of Cases Handled in Ohio Mayor Courts
Ohio mayor’s courts can hear multiple types of cases such as:
- OVI Cases- Drunk driving cases can be heard before the mayor’s court if the defendant has not been charged with an OVI offense within the past six years.
- Violations of Municipal Ordinances- These types of cases can include violations such as parking or moving car violations.
- Misdemeanors- Misdemeanor cases such as reckless driving can also be heard in a mayor’s court.
Cases the Mayor’s Court Cannot Handle
Mayor’s courts cannot hear any felonies, nor can they hold jury trials. If a jury trial is desired, the case must be transferred to a municipal court. Other types of prohibited mayor’s court cases include:
- Domestic violence
- Violation of protective orders
- Aggravated trespassing
Advantages and Disadvantages
There are several advantages and disadvantages to taking your case to the mayor’s court.
Hearings in a mayor’s court are typically casual and relaxed. They often take place at night in order to accommodate busy work schedules.
There has been much speculation on the efficiency and integrity of mayor’s courts. People believe that the mayors are not well qualified to handle these types of cases, and only accredited lawyers and judges should be allowed to. There has also been speculation that the hefty fines given out to defendants in the mayor’s court are only meant to profit the city. Although attempts to revoke mayor’s court privileges have been taken, nothing has been successful so far.
How to Take Your Case to a County or Municipal Court
If you want to take your case to another court after you have received a decision about your case in a mayor’s court, you must act quickly. You are required to report a notice of appeal to the mayor’s court no more than 10 days after the final decision.
After you do file the notice of appeal, the case will be heard in either the municipal or county court. This essentially means starting over with your case. When your case is heard in a municipal or county court, the judge will throw out the previous decision – the one of the mayor’s court – and start completely fresh.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your case in a mayor’s court, our attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates can help you file a notice of appeal and get started on getting your case heard in another court.
How Luftman, Heck & Associates Can Help
If you have been charged with a crime, contact a Columbus criminal defense attorneys right away. Our attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates can walk you through the mayor’s court process. In the event that you want to take your case to a trial in front of a judge, we can help you file a notice of appeal. We will stand by your side through each step of the legal process and help you receive the best outcome for your case.
Call us today at (614) 500-3836 to schedule your free and confidential case consultation.