Why Are Transcripts So Expensive?

Client’s sometimes ask me why the transcripts are so expensive and why we need them at all.  I am going to explain.

First you need to understand that not all courts in Ohio record what is said.  Courts that do are called courts of record. 

A court of record will record what is said in one of several ways.  They can make an audio tape, an audio and video tape, or have a real live person typing what is said in shorthand.

“When a party to an action requests copies of a court transcript of the proceedings in that action, R.C. 149.43 [the public records statute] is superseded by R.C. 2301.24, and the party must pay the official court reporter the fees designated by the court pursuant to the latter statute.”  State ex rel. Slagle v. Rogers, 103 Ohio St.3d 89, 2004-Ohio-4354.

This means that when a defendant wants a copy of what was said in court they have to pay for it.  Audio or video tapes may be as inexpensive as one dollar, but they cannot be used for filing with an appeal unless permission is granted from the court beforehand.

The party will need to pay the court reporter for for a full version when the need requires it or if there is only a shorthand version available.  This full version costs much more. 

This full version is more beneficial to cite to as it will have numbered pages and lines.  Now that we know why we can the full version, we need to next address what it costs.

Section 2301.24 of the Ohio Revised Code allows the judges of the court of common pleas of each county to determine the allowable rate.  This is determined on a per page basis.

For example, the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas Local Rule 20(G) provides these rates. They range from $2.55 per page for regular delivery up to $4.50 per page for real time/daily delivery.

In summary, what is said in court can be cheap, expensive, or unavailable.  Sometimes the rules will require a copy to be purchased.

Other times it is not necessary, but merely beneficial to your attorney in later court proceedings.  Remember, never hesitate to talk to your attorney about additional expenses in your case, the benefits, necessity, usefulness, and cost.

And remember, if you or a family member has been arrested for DUI in the Cincinnati Area – including: Hamilton, Butler, Warren, Clermont, Montgomery, and Greene Counties – give our office a call at 513.333.0014….24-hours a day, 7 days a week.  Because now is the perfect time to put a team that includes a former police officer and two former prosecutors to work….for you!

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