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CRIMINAL

The Criminal Traffic Division processes and maintains criminal, traffic, and environmental cases. The Criminal/Traffic Division provides a multitude of services to the general public, law enforcement and the Court.


General Information

General Information The Criminal/Traffic Department processes and maintains all misdemeanor criminal cases, most felony filings, traffic cases requiring a court appearance, and numerous payable traffic offenses. This division is located on second floor of the Municipal Court Building.

All public phone inquiries should be directed to (614)645-8186 to contact the Criminal Department Call Center.

A special attorney counter and telephone line has been designated to expedite filings and requests by attorneys only. The telephone number for attorneys only is (614)645-8449.

The Criminal/Traffic Department accepts all types of criminal motions, demands, and legal filings twenty-four hours a day, every day. The Clerk's Office notifies the appropriate prosecutor's office when a motion or demand has been filed at the defendant 's request and can provide attorneys with court-approved forms for continuances, expungements, consolidation requests, petitions for limited driving privileges forms, as well as blank subpoenas and affidavits of indigency.

All filings must include the case number and the defendant 's name.

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Arraignment Hearings

A. Arraignment Hearings. Traffic and Criminal Arraignment court sessions are held Monday Friday at 9: 00 a. m. in the Municipal Court Building. A deputy clerk is scheduled in each arraignment courtroom to process the necessary paperwork and to answer any questions.

Effective January 4, 2010, the Clerk's Office will no longer accept same-day add-ons for arraignment court (1A/1B and 4C). To be added on to the arraignment court docket, the defendant must file a Request with the Clerk on the 2nd floor. If a defendant is requesting an extension of F&C on an unassigned traffic case, a ONE TIME 60 day continuance will be processed by the Clerk upon filing of a Request. The Request must be filed on or before the due date. All requests will be reviewed/approved by the Magistrates.

Traffic Arraignment Courtrooms 1A and 1B (1st Floor)

  • Magistrate presiding
  • Defendants (NOT IN JAIL)
  • All misdemeanor traffic cases except OMVI charges
  • Court begins at 9: 00 a.m. with the doors to the courtroom being opened at 8: 30 a.m. on a first come, first served basis, excluding holidays.
  • Courtroom 1A: Defendants whose last names begin with the letters A - K
  • Courtroom 1B: Defendants whose last names begin with the letters L - Z

Criminal Arraignment Courtroom 4C (4th Floor)

  • Weekly alternating judge presiding
  • All defendants (NOT IN JAIL) with criminal misdemeanor or felony cases
  • Court begins at 9:00 a.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays
  • OMVI arraignments are scheduled for 10:00 a.m.
  • Felony preliminary hearings are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. or 10:00 a.m.

Arraignment Courtroom 4D (4th Floor)

  • Weekly alternating judge presiding
  • All defendants (IN JAIL) with criminal and traffic misdemeanors arrested before 12:30 a.m. the morning of court.
  • All defendants (IN JAIL) with new felony cases or preliminary hearings.
  • Court begins at 9:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday, excluding holidays.
  • Felony preliminary hearings are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. or 10:00 a.m.
  • Applicable Rule 4 Hearings are scheduled for 9:00 a.m.

Environmental Division Arraignment, Courtroom 15C (15th Floor)

  • Scheduled for each Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.
  • All defendants (NOT IN JAIL) with environmental cases

The Criminal/Traffic Department cannot reschedule or continue any type of court hearing over the telephone at any time.

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Not Guilty Pleas Prior To Arraignment

B. Not Guilty Pleas Prior To Arraignment The Criminal/Traffic Department accepts not guilty pleas in absentia from defense attorneys with verifiable Supreme Court registration numbers and who have obtained the consent of the prosecutor. A two-part form is available for attorneys requesting this type of plea. Also provided are forms for a Trial by Jury request or a Trial by Judge request. A New Counsel form is also available. In the event the prosecutor or judge refuses to accept a not guilty plea in absentia, the Clerk's Office will send notice to the defendant, along with a new arraignment date. Pursuant to local court rules, a not guilty plea in absentia signed solely by the defendant is not to be accepted.

Once the not guilty plea has been accepted, the case file is sent to the Assignment Office for selection of the trial judge and the assignment of a court date. Normally, a judge will be assigned to the case within one business day.

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Costs in Criminal, Traffic, and Environmental Cases

C. Costs in Criminal, Traffic, and Environmental Cases Fees for the Criminal, Traffic, and Environmental Departments are established by Local Rule 13, Schedule 9. Please refer to the local court rules for information on fees and costs.

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Methods of Payment

D. Methods of Payment Cashiers are located on the second floor in the Criminal/Traffic Division to accept payment Monday - Sunday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, every day of the year. For payment of fines and costs on a criminal or traffic case, probation fees, and driving privilege fees, payment may be made by money order, Discover, MasterCard, VISA, attorney check, company check, or cash. Payment for bail may be made by cash, Discover, MasterCard, or VISA only. Time payments and expungements may be paid by cash, money order, Discover, MasterCard, or VISA.

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Cases Scheduled for Enforcement of a Sentence

E. Cases Scheduled for Enforcement of a Sentence An enforcement docket is prepared Monday through Friday for all defendants who owe a fine or court costs, or must post a Bond Forfeiture by an enforcement date ordered by the sentencing judge. When the defendant fails to pay by the enforcement date, the Clerk's Office takes the court file to the sentencing judge for an entry.

An enforcement docket is prepared each day of the week for all defendants who have been sentenced to serve time in jail commencing on a specific date. If the defendant fails to appear at the jail on that date, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office notifies the Clerk's Office. The court file is then taken to the sentencing judge for an entry.

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Court Investigation

F. Court Investigation Court Investigation, located on the 10th Floor, assists defendants in their attempts to obtain relief in the following areas:

  • extension of time for enforcement to pay a fine and court costs;
  • extension of time for enforcement of days in the Franklin County Correction Center;
  • issuance or change in limited driving privileges;
  • withdrawal of a warrant or order-in that has been issued;
  • assistance with impounded vehicle or Bureau of Motor Vehicle problems;
  • continuance of a court date;
  • placement into the Time Payment Program;
  • release of impounded vehicles;
  • requests by family members for early release of a defendant from incarceration due to family emergency or employment crisis.

All business with Court Investigation must be conducted in person.

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Bail and Bond Information

G. Bail and Bond Information The Criminal/Traffic Department accepts payment for the posting of bail for a Municipal Court prisoner twenty-four hours a day. Payments must be made by cash, Discover, MasterCard, or VISA only. Once bail is posted, the jail is sent a release form. The timeframe for the physical release of the prisoner can be obtained by contacting the Franklin County Sheriff's Office at (614) 525-3368, twenty-four hours a day, every day of the year.

Bond on felony and domestic violence cases is set in arraignment court beginning at 9:00 a.m., Monday - Saturday excluding holidays. Defendants arrested after 12:30 a.m. on Saturday morning will be arraigned at the next scheduled court session.

Attorneys who need to request to talk to the scheduled arraignment court judge to set bond earlier than the scheduled arraignment session may contact the Clerk's Office at (614)645-8449 to obtain the pager number for the judge on call.

Refund of bail money that has been posted in the Criminal/Traffic Department is processed by accounting clerks on the second floor. All bail money posted on a case will be refunded to the depositor after the return of verdict or judgment by a jury or by the court on the issue of guilt or innocence, unless a trial judge directs otherwise. The depositor is the only person who can receive the refund. Bail refunds are mailed to the depositor unless Accounting Clerks are presented with a judges entry directing them to refund the money to the depositor in person.

Accounting clerks also process bail money that has been authorized by the depositor to be applied to fines and costs. All appropriate paperwork must first be completed by a deputy clerk in the Criminal/Traffic Division.

All bail money that is posted in our court and then authorized by a judge to be transferred to another court is processed by accounting clerks in the Criminal/Traffic Department. In addition, accounting clerks process bail money that is posted in our court and then bound over to the Court of Common Pleas.

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Vehicle Immobilization Coordinator

H. Vehicle Immobilization Coordinator State law mandates the immobilization or criminal forfeiture of a vehicle operated by a defendant convicted of certain offenses. Vehicles are immobilized by a steering wheel locking device. The vehicle immobilization coordinator works with vehicle owners, attorneys, law enforcement agencies, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to make sure the court's orders are enforced.

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Sealing of Court Records

I. General Information: Applications to seal a court record are available in the Criminal/Traffic Department on the second floor. In order to expedite processing the application, a record check should be completed and presented at the time the application is filed. Record checks can be obtained through the Franklin County Sheriff's Department at 2460 Jackson Pike in Columbus.

A $50 non-refundable filing fee must be paid at the time the application to seal a conviction and bond forfeiture case is filed. There is no waiting period and no filing fee for an application to seal a dismissed case or a case where you have been found not guilty.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to determine whether he or she is eligible to have the court record sealed prior to submitting the application and filing fee. Should the court determine that the applicant is not eligible to have the court record sealed, the filing fee will not be refunded.

II. Expungements: In very limited circumstances, such as certain firearm offenses and offenses committed by victims of human trafficking, an application to destroy a court record can be filed. There is a $50 non-refundable filing fee to file such an application to expunge the record. For further information regarding the process to Seal or expunge a court record in the Franklin County Municipal Court, contact (614) 645-1706, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to determine whether he or she is eligible to have the court record expunged prior to submitting the application and filing fee. Should the court determine that the applicant is not eligible to have the court record expunged, the filing fee will not be refunded.

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Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles

J. Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles The Criminal/Traffic Department is responsible for processing and reporting records to the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). The Clerk's Office forwards driver licenses for defendants whose licenses have been suspended by the court. The division researches and processes appropriate point assessments by sending records to the BMV. Another duty of the division is to prepare and forward driver license suspensions and reinstatement letters, as well as modifying orders and judgment entries.

Limited driving privileges are kept with each applicable case and a certified copy can be obtained upon request. Petitions for limited driving privileges during an Administrative License Suspension (ALS) can be filed with the Clerk, along with a $20 filing fee. Driving record abstracts cannot be given out by the Clerk's Office but can be secured by contacting the BMV.

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Access to Court Records

K. Access to Court Records Though all records housed in the Criminal/Traffic Division are public records, the procedures involved with accessing the records vary depending upon the request. The Clerk's Office cannot "run record checks" or research all cases involving a defendant by telephone request. Current warrant information can be given to an attorney with a verifiable Supreme Court registration number. It is requested that any type of search that would involve several hours of time be made by mail or submitted to a supervisor, who will be able to set a time frame for conducting the search.

CourtView 2000, the court's case management software, allows deputy clerks to locate the history of a case by entering defendant name, defendant social security number, ticket number, or case number. Court dates and times of pending cases can be easily determined with the proper case number by calling 614-645-8186.

Case files can be withdrawn from the Clerk's Office by an attorney and taken to a judge or various court departments in the building. A completed "withdrawal card" must be given to a deputy clerk, which will then be given to the attorney when the file is returned to the Clerk's Office. Case files must never leave the Municipal Court Building.

The Clerk's Office has also provided access to information within our Case Management System on the Internet, via this website. Simply Click on the link titled "Public Access" located on the left menu and utilize the online search functions.

Questions pertaining to case management inquiries may be answered at 614-645-8186.

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