How do I get an attorney?

The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees that every person that is financially unable to hire their own attorney shall be provided with a competent attorney at the government’s expense. Therefore, you should request counsel at your first court appearance.  The judge or magistrate will ask you about your financial situation and use the 2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines to determine if you are eligible for appointed counsel.

How do I know if I am eligible to get a public defender?

The 2018 Federal Poverty Guidelines outline eligibility for appointed counsel. http://opd.ohio.gov/Portals/0/PDF/Reimbursement/Indigent%20Eligibility%20Guidelines%202018.pdf

How can I ask for a continuance on my case?

You should call our office (419-244-8351) and leave a message for your assigned Assistant Public Defender to contact you.  Your assigned public defender will contact you to discuss your options and the process by which a continuance can be requested.  All final decisions regarding continuances will be made by the judge that is assigned to your case.

What should I do if I have a bench warrant on my case?

You should contact our office (419-244-8351) if an Assistant Public Defender was previously assigned to your case.  If you did not have an Assistant Public Defender assigned to your case then you should come, in person, to the Clerk of Court and request to have the bench warrant withdrawn.  A judge or magistrate will make all final decisions as to whether to withdraw the bench warrant or to remand you into custody.

Should I plead Guilty, No Contest, or go to trial?

The decision to go to trial or to enter a plea of Guilty or No Contest to a charge (or charges) is solely up to you.   Your attorney will discuss your case with you and will give you their opinion as to the strengths and weaknesses of your case.  In addition, your attorney may discuss your case with a prosecutor to negotiate possible options for you to resolve your case.  This does not mean that your attorney thinks that you are guilty or that you should plead Guilty or No Contest on your case.  Your attorney will discuss the options that are available to you and explain the pros and cons of each option.  Finally, your attorney will give you advice as to what they believe may be your best choice so that you can consider their advice in make a knowing, intelligent, and voluntary decision.  However, YOU will make all final decisions as to how to proceed on your case.  If you do not wish to enter a plea of Guilty or No Contest on your case then your case will proceed to trial.  You are entitled to choose between a non-jury (bench) trial and a jury trial. You will decide on what type of trial and whether you wish to testify. Your attorney will advise you on these decisions but you will make the final decision. At trial, the prosecution must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  You will be found not guilty if the prosecution is unable to meet this burden.

What can I do to help my attorney?

Make sure that you come to all scheduled appointments and court events.  If you are on pretrial supervision it is very important that you fully comply with your conditions of release.  You should talk with your attorney immediately if you believe that it will be difficult or impossible for you to comply with all of the conditions of your release.  You should always provide, in writing, a list of any potential witnesses that may be beneficial to your case. You should be prepared to provide the names, addresses and telephone numbers of such witnesses.  Please do not discuss your case with anyone. This means that you should not discuss your case with any law enforcement officer or prosecutor. In addition, you should not discuss your case on social media, with family, or with friends.  You should not discuss your case with inmates if you are incarcerated and you should not talk about your case on a telephone call while you are incarcerated.  Finally, you should always call our office (419-244-8351) if your telephone number or address has changed so that we can update the contact information in your file.