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Appellate Court's Decision Shows Just How Important Your Rights Are

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The 12th District Court of Appeals ruled to reverse a Butler County man's breaking and entering conviction on the grounds that the trial court failed to inform the defendant of his constitutional rights.

The defendant was convicted of breaking and entering by the Butler County Court of Common Pleas after he plead guilty to his charges. The man appealed on the assignment of error that the trial court did not read him his rights when accepting his plea.

According to the Ohio Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rule 11 "Pleas, Rights Upon Plea," the trial court must advise the defendant by:

  • Explaining the right to be represented by retained or appointed counsel (if unrepresented)
  • Explaining the nature of the charges and the penalties involved
  • Explaining eligibility for probation or lack thereof
  • Explaining the effect of the guilty or no contest plea
  • Explaining that the guilty plea waives the right to jury trial

This applies to guilty and no contest pleas for felony cases, and in Ohio, breaking and entering is a fifth degree felony (§ 2911.13 Ohio Revised Code).