Gahanna Ohio Mayor’s Court - Drunk Driving and Criminal Charges Ohio

ABOUT THE COURT

Gahanna Mayor’s Court hears misdemeanor offenses occurring within the jurisdiction of the Gahanna Police Division, with the exception of second offense driving under the influence and second offense driving while under suspension for operating a vehicle while impaired (OVI), or financial responsibility (FRA) suspension. In addition, domestic violence cases are excluded from Mayor’s Court jurisdiction.
Mayor’s Court is in session at 9:00 am each Thursday. Other types of cases heard by the Mayor’s Court include, but are not limited to, zoning cases, passing bad checks, assaults, animal-related cases, and tax-related cases.

If you need a warrant removed outside of normal business hours, payment in full must be made at the Gahanna Police Department (460 Rocky Fork Blvd., Gahanna, Ohio 43230).

Be advised – if payment in full is made online, active warrants will remain in effect until such time as the court is notified of payment during normal business hours.

The Gahanna Clerk of Court’s office is located in the Gahanna City Hall Building located at:

200 South Hamilton
Gahanna, OH 43230
Phone: 614-342-4080
Fax:     614-342-4180
Hours of Operation: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Monday through Friday

Gahanna Mayors Court Website: http://www.gahanna.gov/departments/mayorscourt/default.aspx

TYPES OF CASES

The Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor and traffic violations filed under the Gahanna City Code Ordinances.  The following are examples of charges that are frequently filed in the Gahanna Mayor’s Court:

  • Misdemeanor OVI / DUI
  • Hit and Run
  • Driving Under Suspension
  • Operating a Vehicle Without a License
  • Reckless Operation
  • Speeding Offenses
  • Accident Related Offenses
  • Theft
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Assault

COURT PROCEDURE

Tickets Not Requiring Court Appearance

Minor misdemeanor charges and most fourth degree misdemeanor category offenses do not require a court appearance. Examples of these offenses include speeding less than 20 miles per hour over the posted speed limit and stop sign violations. Fines may be paid prior to the arraignment hearing by admitting guilt and paying the total amount of fines and costs listed on the ticket.

Tickets Requiring Court Appearance

These charges, classified in the fourth degree misdemeanor category, as well as other charges in the third, second and first-degree misdemeanor categories require a court appearance. This category of misdemeanors includes operating a vehicle while intoxicated (OVI) and driving with a suspended driver’s license.

Transfer of Case to Municipal Court

According to the Gahanna Mayor’s Court website:

If a defendant is charged with a misdemeanor other than a minor misdemeanor, the defendant has the right to have the case transferred to Municipal Court at any time by requesting a transfer in writing during the process before a finding has been entered. Possible reasons for the request may be to have the case heard by a jury, to obtain legal representation through the Public Defender’s Office if the defendant is declared indigent, or to have the case heard in a “court of record.”

This serves as the first opportunity to see someone about his/her case. At this time, the defendant will be allowed to enter a plea to the charges. All defendants are advised his/her rights to have an attorney represent them, or they may choose to represent themselves. The right to representation by an attorney may be used at any time during the process and at any hearings.

Trial

If you plead not guilty at your arraignment, a pre-trial hearing date will be set. The prosecutor and your attorney will attempt to settle the case at the pre-trial hearing. If they are unable to resolve the case at this hearing, your case will go to trial. The prosecutor will present the evidence gathered against you and may call witnesses to prove the case. As the defendant you will have the opportunity to present your own evidence and witnesses to prove that you are not guilty. You have the right to be represented by an attorney at this and any subsequent hearings.

Guilty Plea

A guilty plea is a complete admission of guilt.

No Contest Plea

Pleading no contest is not an admission of guilt, but is an admission of the truth of the facts alleged in the information or complaint. The “no contest” plea will not be used against the defendant in any subsequent civil or criminal proceedings.

Not Guilty Plea

The plea of Not Guilty is a denial of guilt. The case will be set for trial at a later date.

Summons

If a defendant fails to appear at the initial arraignment, the court will issue a summons. A summons is a court order requiring the defendant to appear at a later arraignment. If a summons is issued the defendant incurs additional costs.

Warrant

Failing to appear at a court hearing as ordered will result in the court issuing a warrant for the defendant’s arrest. This document allows the Division of Police to pick up the defendant and place him/her in jail pending a court arraignment hearing or until the proper amount of bond has been posted. Again, as in the case of the summons, more court costs are assessed as a result of this warrant.

Sentencing Alternatives

When an individual is convicted of an offense, the magistrate imposes a sentence. Possible sanctions may include jail time, fines and court costs, community service or a period of probation supervision.

CASE TRANSFER

A person whose case is filed in the Gahanna Mayor’s Court has a right to transfer their case from the Gahanna Mayor’s Court at any time while the case is pending.  The City of Gahanna, Ohio, is in Franklin County, so if a person elects to have their case transferred, it will be transferred to Franklin County Municipal Court.

The decision to transfer a case from the Gahanna Mayor’s Court into a municipal court is a personal decision and should not be made without understanding the full repercussions of transferring the case.  In general, mayor’s courts throughout Ohio, such as the Gahanna Mayor’s Court, are often more flexible in sentencing.  Another benefit to keeping a case in a mayor’s court is that it is less likely to be discovered during a public record search than those cases in municipal courts because most people who conduct record searches will check major metropolitan municipal courts far more frequently than outlying mayor’s courts.

The decision to transfer a case from a mayor’s court into a municipal court is not a decision that should be made lightly or without the input of an experienced attorney.

APPEALS

Because mayor’s courts are not “courts of record,” the Ohio Revised Code provides that individuals who are convicted of a traffic or criminal offense have the right to appeal the decision in the mayor’s court within 10 days directly to the county municipal court.  Once appealed to a municipal court, a judge in the municipal court hears the case as if the conviction never happened.  Appealing a conviction to a municipal court from a mayor’s court essentially gives an individual two opportunities to have their case heard.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

Attorney Michael Probst has 15 years of experience handling traffic, criminal and OVI cases throughout Ohio.  He has significant experience handling numerous cases in many different mayor’s courts throughout Columbus and in other cities throughout Ohio.  His experience includes handling trials in mayor’s courts, as well as the transfer of cases from mayor’s courts into county municipal courts.