How do I obtain a marriage license and/or ceremony?
Inquiries regarding marriage license matters should be directed to the Franklin County Probate Court. The Court does perform marriage ceremonies by appointment only and based on availablity of staff. Learn more
Where do I pay my fines, costs, tickets, and/or bond?
For information on paying any fees, contact the Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk of Court or visit their frequently asked questions about accounting.
What should I expect when I go to court?
Please bring 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. Upon arriving for court, all visitors are screened by security before being admitted to the building. Check in with the bailiff, prosecutor, or Court staff and let them know if you have an attorney. Cases are called in the order they are given to the judge or magistrate. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict how long you will be in court. At the conclusion of your hearing, you will be provided with further instruction about upcoming court dates or future requirements. For criminal/traffic cases, you can also sign up to receive text notifications about upcoming court dates by completing the Text Reminder Authorization Form and bringing it with you to the next court date.
What is the dress code for court?
No hats, shorts, or clothing with profanity or inappropriate messaging are allowed in the courtroom. Dress should be appropriate and business casual.
Do I need an attorney and if so, how can I obtain one?
Constitutionally, you have the right to represent yourself in court, but you cannot represent someone else or a business unless you are an attorney. Self-represented litigants are held to the same standards as attorneys and will not be given legal advice. If you choose to hire an attorney, the Columbus Bar Association or Ohio Legal Help will recommend one to fit your needs.
For criminal and traffic cases, if you cannot afford to hire an attorney you may be eligible to be represented at no cost by a public defender or court appointed attorney. To see if you qualify, you may speak with a public defender during Arraignment Court at no cost. Be sure to tell Court staff upon check-in if you wish to speak to an attorney.
For civil cases, if you cannot afford to hire an attorney you may seek representation thorugh the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Capital University Law School Legal Clinic, or the Moritz College of Law Civil Legal Clinic.
What happens if I was subpoenaed as a witness on a case?
A subpoena is an order that requires the recipient to either produce documents, attend court to give evidence, or both. Every subpoena is different and will include instructions for the recipient. There are a variety of penalties for ignoring or not complying with a subpoena. For criminal and traffic cases, provide the subpoena to the Prosecutor in the courtroom when you arrive. You may receive witness fees for mileage traveled. For civil cases, subpoenaed witnesses need to report to the assigned courtroom and check in with the party on the case that requested the subpoena.
What if I need an Interpreter for my court appearance?
Interpreters can be requested at the initial appearance or by visiting Interpreting Services. The case will be continued if an interpreter is required but not available.
What are some possible outcomes from my court appearance?
There are many different outcomes that vary upon the facts of each case. Consult an attorney for legal advice.
Can I come and watch a trial?
Yes, all courtrooms are open to the public. The Franklin County Municipal Court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases and hears civil actions involving less than $15,000. Cases that most often go to trial are OVI (operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both) and domestic violence. The Court receives approximately 18,000 jury demands each year, resulting in 80-120 potential jury trials per day. However, the majority of those cases will be resolved through other means. Contact the Jury Commission for information about where you can find a trial.
What if I can't afford to pay my fines and/or court costs?
If requested, fines may be exchanged for community service hours set by the judge. Court costs cannot be waived. If fines and costs are not paid, they will be referred to a collection agency.
How do I dispute the charges against me?
Appear at your scheduled arraignment and enter a not guilty plea.
Do I have to appear in Court?
Some criminal and traffic charges have mandatory court appearances, indicated on the back of ticket or the bottom of the complaint. Failure to appear for a mandatory appearance will result in a warrant being issued for your arrest. If the appearance is not mandatory, the ticket or complaint is eligible to be paid prior to or on the hearing date. If no payment has been made and you do not appear, a warrant will be issued for your arrest.
I did not receive a hearing notice, what do I do?
Hearing notices are sent by regular mail to the last known address provided to the Court. After the hearing is scheduled, you should receive the notice in the mail in 7-14 days. If you do not receive a notice, verify the address on file with the Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk of Court. All address changes need to be made in person or in writing to the Court by completing the Change of Contact Information Form.
What do I do if I received a court notice for someone who does not live at my address?
Mark the notice Return to Sender and send to the Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk of Court via the USPS. The Court can only mail notices to an address that is provided by the party. Only parties on the case can update an address listed with the Court.
How do I update my address and phone number?
If you are an attorney, fill out the Attorney Registration Form, select Update Information and send to the Assignment Office. If you are on the Court Appointed Counsel List, please also send to the Court Appointed Counsel Coordinator.
If you are not an attorney, fill out the Change of Contact Information Form and send to the Assignment Office.