Erie County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Erie County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Erie County.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Erie 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 Erie 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 Erie 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.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Erie County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Erie County will take place at the Erie County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Erie County Criminal Court Locations.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
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.
What happens in Erie County at an arraignment?
In Erie County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
Who is the prosecutor for Erie County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Erie County criminal cases will either be a representative of Erie 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.
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.
In a jury trial in Erie County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Required Court Appearances in Erie County
Any required court appearances in Erie 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.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
Erie County Criminal Court Locations
Erie County Court of Common Pleas
Address: 323 Columbus Ave, Sandusky OH 44870
Phone: 419-627-7705 Fax: 419-624-6873
Erie County Court of Common Pleas – Juvenile Division
Address: 323 Columbus Ave, 4th Floor, Sandusky OH 44870
Phone: 419-627-7782 Fax: 419-627-6600
Erie County Court of Common Pleas – Probate Division
Address: 323 Columbus Ave, 2nd Floor, Sandusky OH 44870
Phone: 419-627-7750 Fax: 419-626-9120
Erie County Municipal Court
Address: 150 W Mason Rd, Milan OH 44846
Phone: 419-499-4689 Fax: 419-499-3300
Huron Municipal Court
Address: 417 Main St, Huron OH 44839
Phone: 419-433-5430 Fax: 419-433-3272
Sandusky Municipal Court
Address: 222 Meigs St, Sandusky OH 44870
Phone: 419-627-5920 Fax: 419-627-5950
Vermilion Municipal Court
Address: 687 Decatur St, Vermilion OH 44089
Phone: 440-204-2430 Fax: 440-204-2431
Kelleys Island Mayor’s Court
Address: 119 Division St, PO Box 469, Kelleys Island OH 43438
Milan Mayor’s Court
Address: 11 S Main St, PO Box 1450, Milan OH 44846
Phone: 419-499-2631 Fax: 419-499-0304