How do I fight a speeding ticket in Columbus, Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Most of us have had a speeding ticket at some point. How you decide to take action is completely up to you.

First and foremost, you are innocent of the charge. That’s how the law works in the beginning. The state must prove you are guilty. Should you decide to mail the fine to move on with your life, you need to understand that this is an admission of guilt.

You should weigh your options about points on your license. The Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles has a list of points related to violations here.

Secondly, should you decide whether the ticket is unmerited and choose to fight the ticket in court, here’s what you need to know.

Columbus, Ohio Speeding ticket price sheet

  • Under 10 mph over the speed limit- $152
  • Under 10-19 mph over the speed limit- $172
  • More than 20 mph over the speed limit- $192

These prices are only if there is one charge. The prices can get higher with other circumstances like being in a construction zone or not wearing a seat belt. The actual criminal charge can become more serious should you be in an accident or be charged with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Within a few days of getting the ticket, you can find fine information specific to the case at the Clerk of Courts website.

Franklin County traffic court process

Your initial court date will be listed on your ticket. For traffic tickets, if your last name starts with A-K, you will be in courtroom 1A. Last names beginning with L-Z report to courtroom 1B.

Multiple cases are heard in arraignment court each day, so you might have to wait a while to be called. The court recommends checking in with the bailiff as soon as you arrive, as cases are heard in the order of check-ins.

At the conclusion of the arraignment hearing, a new court date will be provided.

The court recommends bringing a valid form of identification, proof of insurance for traffic court, program or community service completion certificates, and funds to cover your fine and court costs.

2019 top traffic violations

According to the Franklin County Court Clerk’s 2019 annual report, the court system had 94,574 traffic cases filed. That was 56 percent of the total caseload (Civil, Criminal, Traffic, Environmental, Rent/Trust/Mayor’s Court.)

  • Speeding 15,082
  • Traffic Control Device 4,480
  • No Operators license 4,383
  • Driving under suspicion 4,192

According to law firm Tyack Law’s, you can get the ticket dismissed. Here are a number of options:

  • Contest the officer’s evidence
  • Provide just reason for speeding or violating another traffic law
  • Prove incorrect information on the ticket
  • Defend yourself in court if the officer doesn’t show up
  • Prove you’re enrolled in a driving course

There are benefits of contesting the ticket. If you pay the ticket, you are admitting guilt. If you choose to show up in court, you have a chance to get a smaller fine or the charge dropped. Since you’re not a lawyer you may want to hire one.

When you get to talk to the judge, you will plead “not guilty.” No this is not lying even if you know the ticket is legit. This is the state’s burden to prove that you are guilty. Therefore, by law, you are innocent. This is a time where you can ask the judge to appoint you a lawyer if you cannot afford one.

If you can afford a lawyer, a simple search on the internet will find you a lot of lawyers who can defend you in court. Of course, your search can also begin with the Ohio Bar Association by clicking here.

I just want to plead guilty and get it over

According to the Ohio Bar Association, you need to know a number of things before pleading guilty to a charge. The list below is not strictly for traffic citations.

  • What are the maximum jail time and fines that can be imposed?
  • What are the court costs I’ll have to pay?
  • Do I have to pay restitution to the victim?
  • How long do I have to pay the fine and court costs?
  • Is the prosecutor making a sentencing recommendation and, if so, what is it?
  • What is the mandatory minimum sentence for the offense I’m pleading guilty to?
  • Will this offense be a “prior” for purposes of enhanced sentencing in future criminal or traffic cases?
  • Is there a license suspension or are points associated with my being found guilty of this offense?
  • Do I have to maintain any sort of special insurance or equipment as a result of my plea?
  • Does pleading guilty affect my ability to qualify for government programs and/or student aid?
  • Might I be put on probation or community control and, if so, for how long? What will the terms of probation be?
  • Will I be required to register as a sex offender as a result of pleading guilty?
  • Will I be unable to vote or restricted from possessing a firearm as a result of my guilty plea?

Frequently Asked Questions for traffic citations

There is an exhaustive list of Frequently Asked Questions provided by the Franklin County Clerk of Courts, beginning with “What is arraignment court?” Here you’ll be able to figure out possible fines, how to find a lawyer, to figuring out how many points are on your driver’s license.

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