My request for a continuance was denied, but I
really can’t come to Court. What is
going to happen when I don’t show up?
your Motion to Continue was denied, the end result will depend on what type of
case you have. If you are the Plaintiff
in a civil case, failure to appear at hearing could result in a dismissal of
your case. If you are the Defendant in a civil case, failure to appear at
hearing could result in a judgment being rendered against you for the amount of
money requested by the Plaintiff.
If you are the Defendant in a traffic or criminal case,
failure to appear could result in a warrant for your arrest and a
forfeiture of any posted bond. If your
bond is forfeited, you could be forced to post a higher bond and any cash bond
you had previously posted could be turned over to the Court and you would not
get it back.
If you are a subpoenaed witness, and you fail to appear at
the scheduled date and time, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.
I missed my court date and now
there’s a warrant out for me. What do I do?
you are represented by an attorney, he or she should be contacted immediately
to discuss your options. If you are not
represented by counsel, you should report to the Court immediately.
I missed my civil trial. Now what do I do?
you are the Plaintiff, and you failed to appear at a scheduled trial date, most
likely your case has been dismissed. If you are the Defendant, and you failed
to appear at a scheduled trial date, most likely a judgment was rendered
If your case was a small claims case, you
will be receiving a Magistrate’s Decision which indicates the outcome of the
case. You can file an objection to the
Magistrate’s decision, within 14 days of receipt, indicating why you failed to
appear, and request that the Judge reinstate your case. However, be advised that because of the time
constraints for filing objections, your objections may be overruled if they are
not timely filed.
your case was on the regular civil docket, you may file a request for
reconsideration with the Judge, explaining the circumstances surrounding your
failure to appear. However, filing this
does not extend the time to file an appeal.
If you are uncertain about what to do, you should contact an attorney
immediately to discuss your rights.
Can I mail in my fines and costs?
you have a waiverable offense you are permitted to mail your fines and costs
provided they arrive prior to your scheduled court date. You must come to the Court on your scheduled
hearing for non-wariverable offenses.
My ticket says that it is waiverable.
How can I find out the amount necessary to pay the waiver?
citation amounts are listed on the website under the “Waiverable Offenses”
section. The amount listed will include
the fine and applicable court costs. Failure to include the appropriate amount
may result in your appearance being required at the scheduled court date.
Why do I have to pay court costs on a
waiverable offense when no appearance is necessary?
court costs have been established by the State Legislature, and must be
collected in every case. Even though
you may be waiving the offense, the Court must process your case for reporting
purposes. Therefore, in addition to
statutory fees, there are internal court costs incurred as the result of
waiverable offense for which you are responsible.
Can I fax my pleading to the Court?
a case has been initiated, i.e., the civil complaint has already been filed, or
the traffic/criminal case has been initiated, the Court will accept a fax
pleading. If the pleading is one that
requires payment of court costs, you must hand deliver or mail your pleading in
with the appropriate court costs. You
must follow up any fax pleadings by filing the corresponding original signed
pleading at the Court in person as soon as possible.
Do I have to have a lawyer?
are constitutionally guaranteed the right to represent yourself in Court. You cannot, however, represent another
person or business entity, unless you are an attorney. For example, property managers for
corporate rental properties cannot file an eviction or appear on behalf of
their corporate client. To do so is
engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, which can have serious
Be advised that if you choose to represent yourself, you
are responsible for the full knowledge of the law and will be expected to
present yourself and your case within the Rules established by the Court and
the law. Staff in the Clerk’s Office
cannot give you legal advice, and the Judges and Magistrates cannot give you
legal advice. If you have questions,
you should consult an attorney.
you have been charged with a crime for which the possible penalties include
jail, and you cannot afford an attorney, you may be eligible for a court
appointed attorney. Berea Municipal
Court does not have public defenders, however, there are several attorneys who
have agreed to represent defendants who do not have the financial resources to
retain an attorney. If you need a court
appointed attorney, you should make this request to the Bailiff immediately
upon your first court appearance.
If you are a party in a civil case, and desire an attorney
but cannot afford one, you should contact the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland by
calling their number at (216) 687-1900 to see if you are eligible.
Can I do community service instead of
the Court does not allow community service for traffic/criminal related
offences. If you wish to do community
service, you should make your request known before you are sentenced.
My mother, brother, sister, friend
was driving my car, and now my car has been seized. What should I do?
your vehicle has been seized due to the driver being stopped for DUI or DUS
(driving under suspension), you should plan to appear at Court on the driver’s
first scheduled hearing date. If you
are seeking the release of your vehicle, you should be prepared to show the
Court your 1) proof of vehicle ownership and 2) proof of insurance. You must also be prepared to show the Court
your valid operator’s license, or have two licensed drivers with you at the
time (one to drive you to the vehicle, one to drive your car). Failure to have any one of these three
things could prevent the Court from issuing a release for you to pick up your
vehicle. In the event that there have
been costs or fees incurred with the seizure of your vehicle, it is your
responsibility to address these issues with the tow lot.
I did not have my proof of insurance
with me when I was cited. What should I do?
you have been scheduled for a hearing, bring proof of insurance covering the
time period during which you received the citation with you to Court.
you are waiving the ticket, make sure you include a copy (not your original) of
proof of insurance covering the time period during which you received the
citation along with your check.
If our records do not reflect proof of insurance when the
case is completed, the BMV may treat as an FRA suspension.
My relative was arrested and I posted
a bond for his release. When will I get
my money back?
First, you should be aware that the purpose
of any bond is to guarantee that the defendant will make all scheduled court
appearances. If the defendant fails to
appear at court appearances, you may not get the bond money back. This is known as a bond forfeiture.
The return of your bond money depends on what type of bond
you posted, and when the case is concluded. If you posted a cash/surety bond by
using a bail bondsman, you will not get that money back. If you posted a cash bond with the Court,
your money will be returned at the absolute end of the case, if the defendant
made all court appearances. You will
need to present your receipt to the cashier after the defendant is sentenced
and any other outstanding costs have been paid.
I won my Small Claims case. When will the Defendant send me my money?
your judgment does not automatically mean the Defendant pay you. You may be forced to “execute” on your
judgment, which means attempt to collect.
You must decide how to accomplish that as the Court only processes the
forms you file. You can obtain copies
of forms for wage garnishments, bank attachments, debtor’s examinations, etc.
from the Court. You should be prepared, most “executions” require you to pay
filing fees to file them, and failure to pay those costs may result in your
documents being returned to you. For
more information on small claims judgments, refer to the “Small Claims
Procedures” section of this website.
For more information on Court Costs, see the “Court Costs” section of
Why can’t the Court make the
Defendant pay? Isn’t that what I went to Court for?
The role of the Court is to determine whether or not you are entitled to the
money for which you have sued. Then, if
the Defendant doesn’t pay a judgment, the Court will process the paperwork,
which you file in an attempt to collect on your judgment.