The Court Process
If you were charged with a crime it is highly recommended that you contact Student Legal Services at (330) 672-9550 immediately to schedule an appointment with a lawyer. The following information is provided to give you a basic understanding of the Judicial Process.
The first step after being arrested or charged with a misdemeanor offense is the arraignment. The primary function of the arraignment is to enter a plea. This is not the time to tell the judge your story.
When: The time and date for your arraignment will be listed on the citation or complaint.
Where: The Kent Municipal Court is located at 303 E. Main St. in Kent and the Ravenna Municipal Court is located at 203 West main St. Ravenna, OH.
What Happens: When you first arrive you will be asked to wait in the court room until the judge calls your name. When your name is called, approach the podium. The judge will explain the charges and ask you to enter a plea.
Entering a Plea
Not Guilty: When you enter a Not Guilty Plea the court will set the matter for a subsequent court date. This will give you the opportunity to explore your options and seek advice from a lawyer. Even if you believe you are guilty you are in no way shape or form lying to the court by entering a Not Guilty Plea. You are simply choosing not to give up your rights at the moment. The Judge will not be angry with you for pleading Not Guilty. In fact, some Judges will treat you more harshly for giving up your rights so quickly – as if you were not treating the matter seriously and just wanted to get it over with. IF YOU ARE NOT SURE OR DON'T KNOW, PLEAD NOT GUILTY.
By pleading Guilty or No Contest, your options are limited. A guilty plea is a complete admission of your guilt as to the charge(s) against you. If you plead guilty the Judge will find you guilty and issue a sentence.
A No Contest plea does not admit your guilt, but does admit the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint against you. If you plead No Contest the judge will ask the court officer to read the alleged facts into the record. If the alleged facts meet the elements of the offense the Judge will find you Guilty and issue a sentence. A no contest plea cannot be used against you in a later civil or criminal case.
If you enter a Not Guilty Plea you will have the opportunity to change your plea to Guilty or No Contest at a later date.
After your arraignment, the court will generally schedule a Pretrial. The Pretrial is typically set approximately 20 - 30 days after your arraignment. At your Pretrial you (or your attorney if represented) will discuss the case with the Prosecutor and determine whether a Trial or Motion Hearing will be necessary or whether the parties can come to an agreement regarding the charge and recommended sentence.
Attorneys often file various motions with the court regarding pretrial release conditions, evidentiary issues, constitutional matters, etc. and the court will set the matter for hearing to address the motion.
At trial, the parties will present evidence and arguments to the Judge or Jury and they will determine whether the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime was committed and that the person charged was responsible for commiting the offense.
In determining your sentence, the court will consider the following: your prior criminal record, the risk that you will commit another offense, the nature and circumstances of the current offense, (i.e., violence vs no violence) and statements made by any victim.
There are several levels of misdemeanor offenses and each carries with it a different maximum fine and possible jail time. The sentence may also include license suspensions, community work service, probation, substance abuse treatment, and the like.
|1st Degree||Six Months||$1000|
|2nd Degree||90 Days||$750|
|3rd Degree||60 Days||$500|
|4th Degree||30 Days||$250|
|Minor Misdemeanor||No Jail||$150|