Seneca County Criminal Court

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

I need help for my Seneca County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Seneca County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Seneca County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Plea Agreements

A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Seneca County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.

Seneca County Criminal Court

Seneca County Criminal Court

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.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

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.

Where will Seneca County criminal case hearings take place?

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

Seneca County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Seneca County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Seneca 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 Seneca 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.

Required Court Appearances in Seneca County

Any required court appearances in Seneca 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.

Who is the prosecutor for Seneca County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Seneca County criminal cases will either be a representative of Seneca 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 an attorney

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

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.

Jury by Trial Right

The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.

Seneca County Criminal Court Locations

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

    Address: 117 E Market St, #4101, Tiffin, OH 44883
    Phone: 419-447-0671 Fax: 419-443-7919

  • Seneca County Juvenile and Probate Court

    Address: 108 Jefferson St, Tiffin OH 44883
    Phone: 419-447-4912 (Juvenile) Phone: 419-447-3121 (Probate)Fax: 419-448-5060

  • Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court

    Address: 213 S Main St, PO Box 985, Fostoria OH 44830
    Phone: 419-435-8139 Fax: 419-435-1150

  • Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court

    Address: 51 E Market St, PO Box 694, Tiffin OH 44883
    Phone: 419-448-5411 Fax: 419-448-5419

  • Bettsville Mayor’s Court

    Address: 308 Emma St, PO Box 505, Bettsville OH 44815
    Phone: 419-986-5636 Fax: 419-986-5304

  • Bloomville Mayor’s Court

    Address: 10 Beeghly Ave, Bloomville OH 44818
    Phone: 419-983-4745

  • Green Springs Mayor’s Court

    Address: 120 Catherine St, Green Springs OH 44836
    Phone: 419-639-2123

  • Republic Mayor’s Court

    Address: 219 Washington St, Republic OH 44867
    Phone: 419-585-5981 Fax 419-585-7004

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