Do I Have to Come to Court?

Certain traffic violations and criminal offenses can be waivered - you can admit guilt and pay your fines and court costs by mail, in person, or online without having to come to court.  Other violations REQUIRE a court appearance under the law.

Mandatory Court Appearances


If you have been cited for one of the following offenses, you are REQUIRED to appear in court on the date listed at the bottom of your citation:
  1. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  2. Leaving the scene of an accident (hit-skip)
  3. No operator's license; not licensed to drive; license expired OVER six (6) months
  4. Driving under ANY suspension or revocation
  5. Passing a stopped school bus
  6. Wrongful Entrustment (allowing a person under suspension to operate your motor vehicle)
  7. Assured Clear Distance or any other offense involving an accident
  8. A third (3rd) moving violation within a one-year period
  9. All First, Second, Third and Fourth Degree Misdemeanor charges
All fines and court costs are due on the date you appear in court.

Waiverable Citations


Most Minor Misdemeanor traffic charges give you the option of paying a fine instead of going to court.  Examples of this include speeding less than 30 miles an hour over the posted speed limit, red lights, stop signs or expired plates.
  • You must call the court to determine if the ticket is waiverable.  Waiverable means that you can pay it without coming to court
  • If you have had 2 or more moving violations in the last 12 months, you must come to court
Fines can be paid by admitting guilt and making your payment prior to the Court Date listed at the bottom right corner of your citation.

Payment can be made in the following ways:


  1. Online at http://court.independenceohio.org (Master Card and Visa)
     
  2. Send a money order (NO PERSONAL CHECKS) to:

    Independence Mayor's Court
    6800 Brecksville Road
    Independence, OH 44131

    Attn:  Violations Bureau
     
  3. Come in person to the address above to pay with Cash, Money Order, or Master Card/Visa

Arraignment Hearing


An Arraignment serves as the first opportunity for you to see someone about your case.  At this time, you will be allowed to enter a plea to the charge(s).  All Defendants are advised of their right to have an attorney represent them.  The right to representation by an attorney may be exercised at any time during the process and at any hearing.

Extensions


If you need to file for an extension (continuance), you must call the court prior to your court date.  An extension will not be granted if you call on your court date or if you have previously failed to appear.

Transfer of Cases to Municipal Court


You have the right to have the case transferred to Garfield Heights Municipal Court. This must be done in person on your court date by entering a plea of NOT GUILTY.

Possible reasons for the request of a transfer may be to put the case before a jury or to obtain legal representation through the Public Defenders' Office if you are indigent.