Athens County Criminal Court

Athens County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Athens County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Athens County.

Who is the prosecutor for Athens County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Athens County criminal cases will either be a representative of Athens County or a representative from Ohio. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.

Jury Deliberations in Athens County

In Athens County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.

Athens County Criminal Court

Athens County Criminal Court

What if I can’t afford an attorney?

The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

Required Court Appearances in Athens County

Any required court appearances in Athens County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Right to Jury Trial

For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.

Sentencing in Athens County

In Athens County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.

Athens County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Athens County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Athens County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Athens County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

Where will Athens County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Athens County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Athens County.

Appealing a guilty verdict

A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Athens County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.

Where can I get help for my Athens County criminal case?

The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Athens County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.

Athens County Criminal Court Locations

  • Athens County Court of Common Pleas – General and Domestic Relations Divisions

    Address: 1 S Court St, 4th Floor, Athens OH 45701
    Phone: 740-592-3242 Fax: 740-592-3282

  • Athens County Juvenile/Probate Court

    Address: 1 S Court St, Athens OH 45701
    Phone: 740-592-3256

  • Athens County Municipal Court

    Address: 8 E Washington St, Athens Ohio 45701
    Phone: 740-592-3328 Fax: 740-592-3331

  • Buchtel Mayor’s Court

    Address: 17710 N Akron Ave, Nelsonville OH 45764
    Phone: 740-753-1036

  • Coolville Mayor’s Court

    Address: 26405 Main St, PO Box 64, Coolville, OH 45723
    Phone: 740-667-7349 Fax: 740-667-0706

  • Glouster Mayor’s Court

    Address: 16 Front St, Glouster OH 45732
    Phone: 740-767-3497

  • Nelsonville Mayor’s Court

    Address: 211 Lake Hope Dr, Nelsonville OH
    Phone: 740-753-5692

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