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Your Rights In Court...

Court is convened to accept pleas from those who have been arrested and charged with traffic and criminal misdemeanor violations with the Trumbull County Court Eastern’s jurisdiction. 

You should have received a copy of the complaint or complaints which have been filed against you and had an opportunity to read them.  The court will state the substance of the charge and ask you to enter a plea.

There are several possible pleas which may be made.  The first is “not guilty”, which is a denial of the charge against you.  The second is “guilty”, which is a complete admission of guilt.  The third is that of “no contest”, which is not an admission of guilt, but is an admission of the truth of the facts which are alleged in the complaint.  You will note, however, that a “no contest plea” cannot be used against you in any subsequent civil or criminal proceeding.  There is a fourth plea available, which it is unlikely that anyone will offer, but we are still required to mention; that pleas is “not guilty by reason of insanity”.  Should you wish to offer that plea, it must be done in writing.

Should you choose to enter a “guilty” or “no contest” plea the convening Judge will be charged with disposing your case.  If the Judge accepts such a plea from you, it is likely that judgment and sentencing will occur the day of the trial. If, on the other hand, you enter a “not guilty” plea your case will be assigned for hearing at a later date.

It is the duty of the Court to explain to each person charged with an offense his or her rights before they accept any plea.  You are, therefore, informed that you have the following substantive rights:

    1. You have the right to know and understand the charge or charges against you.

    2. You have the right to a trial by jury in all but minor misdemeanor cases, which must be tried to a Judge.  However, the right to a trial by jury is not automatic.  If you want a jury trial, you must file a written demand in writing, and that demand must be timely.

    3. You have the right to waive a jury trial and try your case to a Judge.  The failure to properly demand a jury trial will result in your case being tried by a Judge.

    4. You have the right to be represented by a retained lawyer at all stages of these proceedings, even if you intend to plead “guilty”.

    5. You have the right to have a lawyer assigned to your case by the Court if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer.  Such determination is made by the Court and the Public Defender’s office with respect to your income, assets, and dependents and so on, and if jail is a possible sentence for the offense with which you have been charged.

    6. You have the right to a reasonable continuance in order to obtain a lawyer to represent you.

    7. You have the right to remain silent throughout these proceedings, as anything you say can be used against you.

    8. You have the right to bail.

    9. If you are not a citizen of the United States, you are hereby advised that conviction of the offense(s) to which you are pleading may have the consequences of deportation, exclusion for admission to the United States, or denial of citizenship according to the laws of the United States.

These rights belong to everyone and will be protected by the Court.

You are responsible for Court Costs.  Cost Schedule

If you are convicted of a traffic offense, state law requires that a record of that conviction be forwarded to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, where it becomes a permanent part of your driving record.

Finally, if you are here for a moving violation(s) such as speed, the majority of moving violations on a first offense are a minor misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of a fine of $150.00 plus costs.  If, however, you are convicted of a second moving violation within any twelve month period, the maximum or potential penalties increase to up to 30 days in jail, a maximum fine of $250.00 and costs and a one year license suspension.  If you are convicted of a third or subsequent moving violation within any twelve month period, the maximum or potential penalties increase to up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500.00 and costs, and up to a twelve month license suspension.