In all criminal & traffic matters, the defendant should be aware of the following:
- They have the right to know the nature of the charges against them and the possible penalty if found guilty or if they enter a plea of guilty or no contest.
- They have a right to an attorney, even if they intend to plead guilty, and they have the right to a reasonable continuance in the proceedings to secure an attorney. If they have been
charged with an offense where jail may be imposed, and they cannot pay for an attorney, an attorney can be assigned to represent them.
- They do not need to make a statement, and any statement made may be used against them.
- They have the right to bail if they have been charged with a bailable offense.
- For serious offenses, and petty offense where jail can be imposed, they have the right to a jury trial. If they have been charged with a petty offense where jail can be imposed, they must make a written
jury demand at least ten days before trial or three days after getting notice of the trial date, whichever is later.
- They may enter a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest. The plea of NOT GUILTY is a complete denial of the facts alleged in the complaint. The plea of GUILTY is a complete admission of my guilt.
The plea of NO CONTEST is not an admission of their guilt but is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint, and such a plea cannot be used against them in any subsequent civil or criminal proceeding.
- If they enter a plea of not guilty, the case will either be set for a pre-trial or for trial. That trial must occur within the time limits prescribed by R.C. 2945.71 unless they waive that requirement. That trial
will be to the Court or to a jury, and at trial, they have (a) the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses; (b) the right to present my their evidence and witnesses, and to subpoena witnesses to appear at trial;
(c) the right to remain silent at trial, and the fact that they do not testify cannot be held against them; and (d) the right to require the State/City to prove the charges against them beyond a reasonable doubt.
- If they enter a guilty or no contest plea, they waive all of these rights, and the Court will impose a sentence without unreasonable delay. Before sentencing, they have the right to make a statement on their own behalf or
present any information in mitigation of punishment.
- If they are not a citizen of the United States, pleading guilty or no contest to the offense may have the consequences of deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant
to the laws of the United States.
- If they are convicted of a traffic offense, a record of that conviction will be sent to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and points may be charged against their license.
- If they enter a plea of guilty or no contest to or am convicted of a misdemeanor offense of violence, under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(9), it may be unlawful for them to ship, transport, purchase, or possess a firearm or ammunition