In certain Ohio cities, if you have been accused of a minor crime or misdemeanor, you may be able to go to a mayor's court to handle the situation instead of having to appear before a judge in a trial setting.
A mayor's court is usually presided over by a magistrate instead of a judge. The magistrate is appointed by the mayor, not elected by the citizens of that town. The mayor's court handles smaller crimes like littering, noise violations, vandalism, and other misdemeanors. Many traffic cases can also be heard in mayor's court; however, most municipalities have rules that block drunk driving cases from showing up in front of a mayor's court.
When you are summoned to mayor's court, the process will be similar to when you would appear before a regular court. You will have the chance to see the prosecutor before anything happens. At that point, you can talk to the prosecutor. The prosecutor may offer you a deal which could bring down your charges or lower your consequences.
For example, you may be able to lower any fine that you may get. That deal would mean that you are pleading guilty to whatever you are charged with. Or, you can choose to not meet with the prosecutor and plead not guilty. If you choose to plead not guilty, you will have to come back another day in order to appear before the magistrate and argue your case.
You always have the right to have an attorney with you when you appear in any kind of criminal proceeding. That's the same when it comes to mayor's court. You can have your attorney with you when you first go to the mayor's court, even if you are planning on talking to the prosecutor and taking a plea. Your attorney can talk to the prosecutor and get a better deal for you.
If you have chosen to plead not guilty, you can hire an attorney to go with you to stand before the magistrate. Your attorney will be able to argue your case to the magistrate and hopefully get all charges cleared, or get you reduced consequences.
The mayor's court of your city is generally for minor crimes. If you have done something and been summoned before the magistrate of one of these courts, you have options. Taking a mayors court attorney with you is a smart choice and makes sure all your options stay open to you.