Lake County Criminal Court

Lake County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Lake County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Lake County.

What happens in Lake County at an arraignment?

In Lake 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.

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.

Lake County Criminal Court

Lake County Criminal Court

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Lake County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

What is a Plea Agreement?

A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.

Mandatory Appearances in Lake County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Lake County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.

Defendant Sentencing

At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.

Where can I get help for my Lake 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 Lake 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.

Where will Lake County criminal case hearings take place?

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

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.

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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Lake 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.

Who is the prosecutor for Lake County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Lake County criminal cases will either be a representative of Lake 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.

Lake County Criminal Court Locations

  • Lake County Court of Common Pleas – Domestic Relations Division

    Address: 25 N Park Pl, Painesville OH 44077
    Phone: 440-350-2657

  • Lake County Court of Common Pleas – General Division

    Address: 25 N Park Pl, Painesville OH 44077
    Phone: 440-350-2657

  • Lake County Court of Common Pleas – Juvenile Division

    Address: 53 E Erie St, Painesville OH 44077
    Phone: 440-350-3000 Fax: 440-350-2724

  • Lake County Court of Common Pleas – Probate Division

    Address: 25 N Park Pl, Painesville OH 44077
    Phone: 440-350-2626 Fax: 440-350-2628

  • Mentor Municipal Court

    Address: Phone: 440-974-5744, x2360 Fax: 440-974-5742

  • Painesville Municipal Court

    Address: 7 Richmond St, PO Box 601, Painesville OH 44077
    Phone: 440-392-5900 Fax; 440-352-0028

  • Willoughby Municipal Court

    Address: 4000 Erie St, Willoughby OH 44094
    Phone: 440-953-4150 Fax: 440-953-4149

  • Fairport Harbor Mayor’s Court

    Address: 220 Third St, Fairport Harbor OH 44077
    Phone: 440-352-3620 Fax: 440-579-1040

  • Grand River Mayor’s Court

    Address: 205 Singer Ave, PO Box 216, Grand River OH 44045
    Phone: 440-352-1287 Fax: 440-638-8008

  • Madison Village Mayor’s Court

    Address: 126 W Main St, Madison OH 44057
    Phone: 440-428-3522 Fax: 440-428-6703

  • Perry Village Mayor’s Court

    Address: 3758 Center Rd, Perry OH 44081
    Phone: 440-259-2671

  • Willoughby Hills Mayor’s Court

    Address: 35405 Chardon Rd, Willoughby Hills OH 44094
    Phone: 440-942-5050 Fax: 440-975-3530

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