One of the most critical parts of the Ohio criminal process is the initial appearance. The first appearance happens after a person is arrested and charged with a crime. The person then would be booked into the jail and a first appearance would be scheduled.
There the accused would learn of the criminal charges he or she faces and would be informed of his or her rights. The hearings often are short, but they are important steps of the process in the criminal justice system. Legal counsel can be obtained in this step, but having a skilled attorney on hand before could be beneficial.
Ohio First Appearance Attorney
If you are facing DUI charges, it is important you know what you are up against. A skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm can represent you at your first appearance and help you understand your options. You do not have to plead guilty. An attorney at Joslyn Law Firm can examine your case and fight for a favorable outcome.
Joslyn Law Firm represents clients throughout the Hamilton County and the Central Ohio area. They are dedicated to working with clients to ensure their rights are represented. Call (513) 399-6289 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney.
Information About an Initial Court Appearance in Ohio
- What Happens at an Arraignment in Ohio
- Entering a Plea at a First Appearance
- Benefits of Legal Counsel at Initial Appearance
What Happens at an Initial Appearance in Ohio
After a person has been booked, processed and charged with a criminal offense, he or she will have a first appearance in court. The first appearance, also known as an arraignment, is where the alleged offender basically will learn of the charges he or she faces and will be informed of his or her constitutional rights.
According to the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, the defendant will appear before a judge or magistrate in the first appearance. The defendant does not need to make a statement, and any statement made could be used against them.
Additionally, if the defendant has not been admitted to bail for a bailable offense, the judge or magistrate overseeing the appearance will admit the defendant to bail. The bail often is determined based on the offense.
In felony cases in Ohio, the defendant does not have to enter a plea either at the initial appearance or at a preliminary hearing. However, in misdemeanor cases the defendant will typically enter a plea of guilty or not guilty during this process.
Entering a Plea at an Arraignment
At the arraignment, the defendant will be asked to enter a plea to the criminal charges they are facing. It is important to understand what each plea implicates and what that could mean for a person entering the plea. Entering the following plea could have the following repercussions:
Guilty — When a person enters a guilty plea, he or she admits to the facts and charges against them. It is important for people facing criminal charges to know this is not the only option, no matter what evidence the prosecution says could be used against you. There are options, and an attorney can help you review the charges.
Not Guilty — Entering a not guilty plea means the defendant asserts the charges against him or her are not true and he or she did not commit the crime. For instance, if a person is charged with drugged driving and enters a not guilty plea, he or she essentially would be claiming the criminal act was not committed.
No Contest — A no contest plea is a plea that asserts the offender did not commit the crime but is unable to prevail against the charges.
Benefits of Legal Counsel at Initial Appearance
During the initial appearance, the judge or magistrate is required to inform the defendant of his or her right to counsel. The defendant has a right to counsel and the right to a reasonable continuance in the proceedings to secure counsel, according to the Ohio Rules for Criminal Procedure. If the accused cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one.
An attorney can represent a defendant during this stage of the criminal process. Having an attorney early in your case can make a difference in several aspects, including:
- Assisting with bond — An attorney can negotiate with the judge when he or she sets the amount for bail. The judge does not consider the evidence in the case when setting the bail, and an attorney can fight to have the amount reduced.
- Plea bargaining — Plea bargains are agreements between defendants and prosecutors in which the accused agrees to plead guilty to some or all of the charges against them in exchange for deductions from the prosecutors. Plea bargaining can begin early in the case if an attorney is present at the initial appearance.
- Begin building a defense — Having an attorney present at the beginning of the process can help when establishing a defense. A skilled attorney can examine the evidence used against you and find holes in the prosecution's case.
Finding the Best Cincinnati DUI Defense Lawyer
A charge for drunk driving does not have to mean a conviction. The skilled DUI attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm can help you fight the charge you face. They are dedicated to providing solid and comprehensive representation, no matter the situation. They can help you consider all of your options and decided what is best to protect your future. Call (513) 399-6289 today.