The Findlay Police Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Hancock County Sheriff Department, Bluffton Police Department and the McComb Police Department all issue citations through this court.
You are expected to appear on the date and time listed on your citation. All minor misdemeanors are waiverable and must be paid in full prior to your court date to avoid having to appear in court. All waivers can be paid in person during our office hours at the Municipal Building, Room 206; after hours and/or on the weekend at the dispatch window at the Findlay Police Department. Waivers may also be paid online using the Payment Center.
Tuesday's at 8:30 AM - Minor-Misdemeanor Traffic Citations are heard by a Magistrate.
Tuesday's at 8:30 AM - OVI, Physical Control, Leaving the Scene and Failure to Comply with an Officer violations are heard by a Judge.
Wednesday's at 8:30 AM - Criminal complaints are heard by a Judge
Thursday's at 8:30 AM - Driving Under Suspension and other drivers license related offenses are heard by a Magistrate.
*This schedule is subject to change due to holidays and other events.
Traffic\Criminal Court Guide
If you are scheduled to appear in traffic court, you must first sign in using one of the kiosks in the hallway.
Your first scheduled court appearance is called an arraignment. Once court begins you will be shown a video that explains your rights and the possible plea options. Once your case is called the Judge/Magistrate will read to you the complaint that was filed, the applicable laws and the possible penalties if you are found guilty. Afterwards you will be asked how you wish to plea, your choices are as follows:
Not Guilty* - If you plead not guilty your case will be continued to a later date. Your options if you plead not guilty are:
- Pretrial - A meeting for you (or your attorney) to meet with the prosecutor to discuss the facts of the case in an attempt to reach a resolution.
- Court Trial - A trial where the judge hears the case and renders a verdict based on the evidence submitted.
- Jury Trial - A trial where a jury renders a verdict based on the evidence submitted. This option is not applicable for all cases.
No Contest - If you plead no contest, you are admitting that the facts of the case are true but that admission cannot be used against you in any civil lawsuit resulting from this case. If you waive your evidentiary hearing this will be handled in the same manner as the guilty plea, and you will be sentenced.
Guilty - If you plead guilty, you waive certain rights and the court will hear your case immediately. You will be allowed to explain any circumstances that you feel the court should take into consideration before sentencing.
Your case will be set on the next available date determined by one of the Judicial Assistants. If you have a conflict with the date that you've been assigned, you can file a motion in the clerk's office. All requests for continuance must be made in writing.
* If your case is a minor-misdemeanor and you wish to enter a not guilty plea, you may do so in writing prior to your court date to avoid having to come in for the arraignment hearing. You will want to specify which hearing type you are requesting. Your hearing date will be mailed to the last known address on file with the Clerk's office.
If you would like to seek legal counsel before entering any of these plea options then you will need to consult with an attorney prior to your court date. If you are unable to meet with an attorney before your court date you may ask for a continuance to speak with counsel in which case the court will grant you a limited amount of time to retain an attorney. If time allows, your request can be made in writing prior to your hearing date; it is your responsibility to check back to find out your next court date. You may also make your request in person at the arraignment hearing.
If you are charged with an offense that has a potential jail sentence and you cannot afford an attorney you will be referred to the Hancock County Public Defenders office. You may contact their office at (419) 424-7276.
If your case is continued beyond your arraignment date the court may impose a bond and certain conditions of your release (if needed) to insure that you appear for all future court dates and to protect the community while the case is pending. See below for more information regarding bonds and conditions.
You are expected to pay your fines and costs at the time of sentencing. You may pay your fine by cash, Visa or MasterCard, or local check. If you have been sentenced by the court and are unable to pay all of your fines and costs in full you may setup a payment agreement. Be sure you follow the agreement or the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will cancel your license until payment is made in full. A warrant could also be issued for your arrest. If you have questions please ask the Deputy Clerks at the window.
Posting of Bonds
Posting bond is to assure the defendants appearance in court for a misdemeanor or felony case. Bond can be personal recognizance, 10%, cash or surety. The Judge can impose conditions of bond. Bonds may be posted 24 hours a day, at the Clerks office, or after hours and during the weekend at the dispatch window at the Findlay Police Department.
Types of Bonds
Personal Recognizance: A personal recognizance bond requires only the defendant's signature guaranteeing the defendant’s appearance. Failure to appear after signing a personal bond is punishable by six months in jail and/or a fine of $1,000, regardless of the outcome of the original charge. Plus the defendant may be charged the amount of the bond.
10%: The defendant will post 10% of the bond amount issued by the judge. All bonds are held until the case is completed unless otherwise granted by the judge. 10% of all criminal bonds will be held. The bond may also be ordered applied to the defendant's fines.
Cash/Surety: The defendant has the choice of depositing the full amount of the bond or using a professional bonding company (surety). The Court cannot recommend a bondsman.
If the bond has been posted in the form of Cash (visa, cash, check, or money order) it could be returned at the judge's discretion. If someone other than the defendant posted bond it could be returned when the defendant's cases are completed. 10% of all bonds posted for Criminal cases will be retained for court costs.
Conditions of Bond: At times the court may impose certain conditions with the intent to protect the community while the defendant is out on bail and/or protect the defendant from situations which could result in new citations being issued. For instance, for certain alcohol and drug related offenses the court may impose the condition that the defendant is not to consume or possess alcohol or illegal drugs and may be subject to random testing by the court's probation department to verify compliance. Another example would be in domestic violence cases where the defendant may be ordered to have no contact with the victim while the case is pending. The court will consider modifying or releasing this bond condition upon the victim(s) filing a motion. Violations of any bond conditions could result in the bond being revoked and the defendant being placed back in custody.
If the defendant fails to appear for his/her hearing the bond may be ordered forfeited and a bench warrant will be issued. A new bond will be set. All bonds can be paid in cash, local check or Visa and MasterCard.