Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division – Cincinnati, OH

Oct 26, 2021

A municipal court is a court with limited jurisdiction over criminal charges and civil disputes inside its area. These courts can be found at the city or county tier.

Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division INformation

Court: Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division
Address: “Hamilton County Justice Center 1000 Sycamore St, Cincinnati, OH 45202”
Phone: 513-946-6010

City: Cincinnati
County: Hamilton
State: Ohio

What is the role of the Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division?

Municipal Courts are routinely called “courts of limited jurisdiction.” This means that they work with minor crimes, civil matters, and traffic violations. Courts like Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division are the first level of court for these types of cases.

On the other hand, the purpose of a county court is to deal with a large number of civil disputes within the respective region. Most cases involve family law matters, personal injury, more serious criminal charges, or lawsuits.

County courthouses have the jurisdiction to deal with misdemeanors and civil matters that can’t exceed the amount of $15,000.00, while the circuits courts handle felony cases and larger civil cases.

TYPES OF Matters adjudicated IN A MUNICIPAL COURT in Cincinnati, Ohio

Municipal courts are the lowest level of courts in the United States. They are usually found within the jurisdiction where they are located, but some jurisdictions share municipal courts with other municipalities.

This can be done to better assist their citizens or to save money on administrative costs. The matters that may be heard by a municipal court depend on the municipality, but typically include traffic violations, criminal misdemeanors and code infractions.

There is no set definition for what makes a misdemeanor versus a felony, but generally speaking felonies would require more time in jail than misdemeanors and fines may also be higher for felonies. Traffic violations usually result in points against your driver’s license as well

What’s the process for cases in the municipal court in Cincinnati?

Municipal courts are the first level of the court system in the United States. They have jurisdiction over minor crimes, traffic tickets, and other civil matters. Municipal courts are have often been called city courts or town courts. Cases are handled by a magistrate who is usually a lawyer, judge, or retired judge. Magistrates may be appointed by the mayor or city council members to help for a specific duration.

Magistrates administer hearings to determine:

  • Probable cause for arrest
  • Set bail amounts and conditions of release
  • Conduct arraignment hearings when charges are filed against defendants by police officers
  • Distribute search warrants to police officers in order to seize evidence from crime scenes
  • Conduct preliminary examinations to understand if there is enough evidence to charge

The typical process of a Municipal Court Case

The common path of a municipal court case can be tricky. The following is an overview of the most common steps involved in a typical municipal court matter.

Step One: Issuance of Summons

A summons is given when an individual has been charged with violating a local rule or state law. The person who has received the summons will need to show up at their assigned time and location, which is usually the municipal courtroom, to answer for the charge(s) against them. If they don’t appear, they may be found guilty in absentia and could be fined up to $1,000.00 or sentenced to jail time if it’s a serious enough offense.

Step Two: Appearance before Judge or Magistrate

If someone fails to respond after being summoned by the judge, there may be a warrant issued for the individual. 

Municipal Court Penalties in Cincinnati, OH

Penalties change often, which is why it’s good to speak with licensed lawyer near you. The information below represents common penalties, but may not be accurate for the Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division. 

A violation is a crime that has a penalty of $500 or less, while a misdemeanor charge can carry penalties up to $1,000.00 or one year in local jail. A person’s driving privileges may be suspended for six months if they receive three speeding tickets within 12 months.

The penalties for different charges in municipal courthouses vary depending on the severity of an crimes. For example, if you are caught with marijuana without having a license for it then you will be fined up to $2k or spend up to six months in jail.

Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division Records

Municipal Court records from a municipal government may be difficult to find because they are not always stored in one place or system. The records that a person might need to depend on the type of case they have in front of the court, what stage it is at in the process, and what type of information is needed by law to be available.

FAQs ABOUT the Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division

What is municipal court in Cincinnati, Ohio?

In Ohio, the municipal court is a lower court with civil and criminal matters within a town or municipality. Municipal courts have a small location and have limited authority as well, dealing only with petty charges and misdemeanor charges.

What does the municipal court handle in Cincinnati, Ohio?

Depending on the area of the municipality, a municipal court can handle a civil division (cases with less than  $15,000 at issue), a traffic/criminal division, or a housing and environmental division. Serious cases/crimes are deal with by higher authorities.

How many judges does the Hamilton County Municipal Court – Criminal Division have?

The count of judges depends on the municipality’s population.

How are cases heard in municipal courts in Ohio?

A municipal courthouse judge may be either elected or appointed to serve for a set term of years or until retirement. Judges are commonly elected by the people with each precinct’s results weighted according to population. Municipal magistrates are often not lawyers but have some legal education and must finish multiple hours of ongoing education every year to maintain their credentials.