How Do I Know I Have Been Charged with a Crime?

As experienced criminal defense attorneys, we know that time matters. The sooner you can begin building a defense, the stronger your chances of success. But how will you know you have been charged with a crime?

In Ohio, most criminal charges are by complaint or indictment. You will know what charges you face at your arraignment, which is typically held after being arrested or receiving a summons that commands that you show up in court. For help with your case, contact a criminal defense attorney at Groth & Associates today.


Getting handcuffed is one way you will know you have been charged with a crime. Of course, the police can arrest someone before any criminal charges are filed. But as they put the handcuffs on, they should tell you whether you have been charged with a crime.

There is no sense in resisting arrest—or even asking too many questions. You will learn more about the criminal charges against you at your arraignment. Remember, anything you say could be introduced later in court.


Not every criminal defendant is arrested. You might receive a summons, which tells you to show up to court. According to the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 4(B)(2), the summons should state the time and place where the defendant should appear. The summons will also tell the defendant they will be arrested if they do not show up at the appointed time voluntarily.

Prosecutors have the option of choosing a summons over an arrest warrant when they believe that a summons is adequate to get a defendant to show up in court. This often happens. Also, under Rule 4(A)(2), an officer with a warrant for arrest can, in misdemeanor cases, issue a summons instead of making an arrest.

A summons usually has a copy of the criminal complaint attached. This complaint should include the factual basis for the criminal charge, so you gain a better sense of what the prosecutor is accusing you of. Review the summons and the complaint carefully with an attorney.


An arraignment is typically a defendant’s first appearance before a judge. It is not a trial, and no witnesses will testify. A defendant is not convicted at the arraignment. Instead, the judge will read out the charges and the defendant enters a plea. A defendant can request a public defender at that time or have their own attorney present. A judge also informs a defendant of other important rights, such as the right to bail and the right to remain silent.

Under Ohio law, your arraignment must happen within days of your arrest—within 48 hours is standard. If the prosecutor needs more time, then they need to point to extraordinary circumstances that support holding you for longer.

If you do not have an attorney, we strongly encourage you to enter a “Not Guilty” plea and request a lawyer immediately. In some cases, the prosecutor will need to convince a judge that they have probable cause for charging you.

Speak with Groth & Associates Today

Our criminal defense attorneys can swing into action and represent you if you have been arrested or received a summons. Contact us to schedule your confidential consultation.