1. How do I file charges against someone?
Criminal charges generally begin with an investigation by a police agency. If you have been the victim of a crime, please call your local police department. For a list of local police departments please go to the Prosecutor’s Office home page.
2. How do I get a Temporary Protective Order?
A victim of violent crime may obtain a Temporary Protective Order as part of filing charges. Where appropriate, family or household members will also be covered by protective orders. Temporary Protective Orders are typically issued the following business day after an incident has occurred. Please contact the responding police agency to determine the date, time and location the Temporary Protective Order hearing will be held. Please remember Temporary Protective Orders only remain in effect for the duration of the criminal case.
3. How do I get a Civil Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order?
Without the filing of charges, or where no crime of violence is involved, a private citizen may obtain a Civil Stalking Protection Order through the Clermont County Clerk of Courts. Victims of crime may also obtain a Civil Stalking or Sexually Oriented Offense Protection Order. These provide an order that requires a respondent to have no contact with a petitioner for up to 5 years. The Clermont County Clerk of Courts is located in the Common Pleas Courthouse at 270 Main St. in the Village of Batavia. They can be reached at 732-7130.
A subpoena is a court order which instructs the recipient to appear in court at a designated date and time.
5. What happens if I ignore a subpoena and/or otherwise fail to appear in court as ordered?
The court may issue a warrant for your arrest for failure to appear.
A warrant is an order signed by a Judge authorizing the police to arrest a person believed to have committed a crime.
7. What is a pre-trial conference and do I need to attend?
Pre-Trial Conferences are held to make sure the prosecutor and the defense attorney have exchanged the appropriate documents and to determine if there are any motions that need to be ruled on. A Pre-Trial Conference may also be scheduled prior to a trial to make sure that everyone is prepared for trial. Defendants should consult their attorney to determine if they are required to attend. The victim does not need to appear for a Pre-Trial.
8. What is the difference between a bench trial and a jury trial?
A bench trial is a trial before a Judge without a jury. In a bench trial, the Judge makes the determination of guilt or innocence. A jury trial is a trial before a Judge and a jury consisting of 12 jurors and typically 2 alternates. In a jury trial the members of the jury determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant.
9. Am I allowed to be present in the courtroom during the trial?
The defendant has the right to be present during the duration of the trial. If you are a victim or witness and are under subpoena you will not be permitted in the courtroom. Please consult with the Victim Assistance Office (732-7979) to determine where you should wait prior to testifying. If you are not under subpoena you are permitted in the courtroom.
10. What if the defendant’s attorney or some other individual acting on behalf of the defendant contacts me about the case?
These individuals have the right to contact you; however, you also have the right not to talk to them. You should always ask for identification from the individual(s) wanting to talk to you. You have the right to have a prosecutor present with you should you choose to speak to the defense.
11. What if I decide to drop the charges?
You cannot drop charges- only the prosecutor may do so. You may attend the next scheduled hearing and advise the prosecutor of your wishes; however, it is ultimately the prosecutor’s decision as to how to resolve the case.
12. What happens if the defendant either pleads guilty or is found guilty by a Judge or jury?
The case will be set for sentencing, usually about 30-45 days from the date of the plea or verdict. During this time the probation department will prepare a Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) report for the Judge to consider at sentencing. The probation officer assigned to the case should contact all victims and ask for their input prior to sentencing.
13. What is a Victim Impact Statement?
You have a right to make an oral or written statement to the Court after the defendant is convicted but before the defendant is sentenced about how you were affected by this crime- emotionally, physically, and financially. The statement may also include your feelings as to what punishment you think is appropriate for the crime committed. This statement can also include restitution information. If you wish to be present at the sentencing to orally present your Victim Impact Statement, please contact the Victim Assistance Office at 732-7979 or notify the prosecutor when you arrive at court the day of the sentencing. Please remember, your Victim Impact Statement MUST be received prior to sentencing.
The court may order a person convicted of a crime to make restitution to the victim, the victim’s estate, or to the family of a victim who is deceased for certain expenses related to a crime. Restitution may include property damages, medical and hospital expenses, funeral and burial costs, or other items deemed appropriate by the court. You should submit all documentation of uninsured expenses relating to the crime to the Probation Department to be included in the Pre-Sentencing Investigation (PSI) prior to the defendant’s sentencing date. Please contact the Common Pleas Probation Department at 732-7265. In misdemeanor cases, please contact the Municipal Court Prosecutor’s Office at 732-7810.
15. What is Crime Victim Compensation?
In 1976, the Ohio Legislature enacted the Crime Victims Compensation Act. This law helps innocent victims of violent crime to recover their economic losses suffered as a result of the crime. Victims of violent crime must apply for compensation and meet certain eligibility requirements. The compensation fund provides applicants up to $50,000 for their economic losses resulting from having suffered personal injury as a result of a violent crime.
Once a claim is filed, the statute requires that a decision be rendered on a claim within 120 days (although it provides that extensions may be taken when additional time is needed). During the 120-day period, a field specialist collects information about the underlying crime. A criminal history specialist works with the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation to determine if the victim, or any of the applicants, has a disqualifying conviction or has engaged in any disqualifying acts of criminal conduct. Also, an economic loss specialist reviews the claimed losses, identifies other available sources of benefits, and performs the economic loss calculations on the claim.
After the reviews are completed, the claim is assigned to an assistant Attorney General who prepares the Finding of Fact and Decision. If an award is granted, payment is rendered to the applicant and/or providers of service to the victim as appropriate.
If an applicant does not agree with a Finding of Fact and Decision, the applicant, within 30 days of the decision, may file a Request for Reconsideration to have the claim reviewed once again by the office.
Applications can be received from the Victim Assistance Office at 732-7979 or on-line at http://www.ag.state.oh.us/victim/compensation.asp
For questions regarding this program please contact the Ohio Victim’s of Crime Compensation Office at 1-877-584-2846.
Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE)
VINE is a toll free, 24 hours a day, automated telephone system that permits callers to find out the custody status of an offender housed in a county jail, ODRC or DYS facility, or to find out about upcoming court events related to an offender. Callers can also register for automatic notifications (by phone, email or pager) when there is a change in an offender’s custody status or for notification of related court events. VINE helps by relaying an offender’s sentence expiration date, inmate custody status and location, as well as notification on the transfer, release, escape or death of an inmate. All telephone calls and registrations are anonymous, confidential, and free.
For more information: Call 1-800-770-0192
Search for an offender and register for VINE notification at www.vinelink.com