In most other places in the U.S., you will hear people talking about how they have to go to "traffic court." In Ohio, it is a very different story. Here, there is no "traffic court" per se--instead it is known as the "mayor's court," and it operates very differently. If you find yourself summoned to the mayor's court for a traffic offense, you will see no mayor's court attorney or criminal attorneys, no matter how major the traffic offense. Here are three reasons why you will not see these defendents when you enter into the mayor's court in Ohio.
The Mayor's Court Is Neither a Criminal Court or a Jurisdictional Court
Criminal courts and jurisdictional courts are operated by the local and state governments and are funded by the people. There is a chain of legal command that starts at the jurisdictional courts and criminal courts and works its way up to the Supreme Court in each state and then the Federal Supreme Court. The mayor's court is not part of any of these court systems because it is a private court levied and paid for by the mayor's office for the hearing of traffic offenses and misdemeanors that occur with a mayor's city limits.
There Is No Judge Present Either
Lawyers and judges typically go hand in hand in regular courts and hearings. In the mayor's court, there is no judge. There is only a magistrate, someone who has a working knowledge of the laws of the city but who is not a judge in title or educational achievements. The magistrate is given the power to hear arguments by you and why you should not pay a fine or be charged with a crime, but cannot punish you beyond what the city laws allow. The magistrate may also refer your case to a criminal or jurisdictional court if your case is much more severe in action and/or you have formally requested that the magistrate send you to criminal/jurisdictional court instead.
There Are No Appeals Allowed for Your "Crimes"
While your traffic violations or misdemeanors may only be considered lesser crimes, they are not really the kinds of hardcore crimes that require major decision-making. Most cases that appear in the mayor's court are fairly cut and dry--you either did it, you didn't do it, or you did it with good reason and can argue why. As such there are no appeals allowed and no appeals are necessary, so no lawyers are necessary either.
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