Criminal Procedures

Criminal Procedures

A defendant is required to personally appear in court for Arraignment for the purpose of entering a plea. The Judge notifies defendants of their rights as a group before accepting individual pleas. Before entering the court room, the defendant must check in at the Clerk’s office to verify their contact information. If you are not scheduled for court we will provide you with the scheduled date and time to appear. 

Criminal offenses under the jurisdiction of Dickinson Municipal Court include B Misdemeanor and Infraction violations. Examples include (but are not limited to): Driving Under the Influence, Driving Under Suspension/Revocation, Disorderly Conduct, Minor in Consumption, Possession of Marijuana, and Simple Assault. 

B Misdemeanor maximum penalties include up to or a combination of $1,500 in fines and 30 days in jail. Infractions carry a maximum penalty of $1,000 in fines and no jail time. Defendants convicted of either type of offense may have other conditions imposed, such as a Chemical Dependency Evaluation, Anger Management Classes, or a Victim Impact Panel. These are only a few of the more common conditions imposed. 

The following information relates specifically to criminal offenses.

If you fail to appear for Arraignment, Pretrial Conference, Status Conference, or Bench Trial, any bond posted will be forfeited and a warrant for your arrest will be issued.

If you plead guilty: You will be giving up your right to a trial of any kind by pleading guilty and verify by signature that you understand this. The Judge will impose sentence immediately if your guilty plea is accepted.

Plea of not guilty: After a not-guilty plea is entered, a Pretrial Conference date is set and given to you in writing at the Clerk’s office. If you request a Court Appointed Attorney, you will fill out the application on-site and it will later be reviewed by the Judge to determine eligibility. The Clerk’s Office will contact you after the Judge makes his/her determination. If you do not request a Court Appointed Attorney, you will be given contact information for the City Prosecutor’s office to request discovery and/or discuss your case, before your next hearing.

Pretrial Conference: This hearing is held to discuss the discovery documents, and gives the defendant an opportunity to accept a plea agreement, or decide to take the case to trial. 

If you are not represented by an attorney, and would like a bench trial in Municipal Court, a Status Conference is held approximately 2 weeks prior to the trial date for one final meeting to finalize the preparation for the trial. 

Bench Trial: On the date set for trial, both the City of Dickinson and the defendant may present their witnesses and any evidence they have. Each side is given the opportunity to cross-examine the other side’s witnesses. In a criminal case, the defendant cannot be compelled to testify or present any evidence. If the defendant chooses to testify, the prosecutor may cross examine the defendant.

Burden of Proof: In criminal cases, the City of Dickinson must prove each element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jury Trial: A defendant charged with a class B misdemeanor in Municipal Court may request a jury trial. Jury trials are not available in Municipal Court, and instead would be held in Stark County District Court. A written demand for jury trial must be made within 28 days after a plea of not guilty is entered. The City of Dickinson prosecutes the case in District Court. If a defendant does not demand a jury trial within 28 days, the right to a jury trial is waived by statute.

To Appeal a Guilty Verdict in Municipal Court

In a criminal case, you may appeal the Municipal Judge's decision to the District Court. A written notice of appeal must be filed with the Clerk of Municipal Court within 30 days after the entry of the judgment. The appeal is a new trial before a District Court Judge. The conviction is reported to the state licensing authority even if an appeal is filed.

The Clerk will forward the court file to the Clerk of District Court within five days after the appeal is filed. The Clerk of District Court will notify the defendant of future court appearances.

Posting A Bond

See the bond schedule for a detailed list of criminal offenses and their bond amounts.