Steps Involved in Criminal Prosecution
INCIDENT: A criminal case generally begins in one of two ways:
* By the filing of a charge in Municipal Court, or
* By an indictment returned by the Grand Jury.
If a charge is filed in the Municipal Court, the defendant is entitled to a Preliminary Hearing. The defendant may waive that right and agree to having his/her case bound over to the Grand Jury for further consideration. If the evidence indicates that a felony crime probably did occur and it is established that the defendant probably committed the crime, the Judge will bind the case over to the Grand Jury, or he/she may agree to proceed by way of a Bill of Information, (i.e. waive the right to Grand Jury and go directly before the Common Pleas Court and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty).
The defendant may exercise his/her right to a Preliminary Hearing. This hearing is conducted by the Municipal Prosecutor and is held at the Municipal Court which is located at 205 S. Main Street, Urbana, Ohio.
The Grand Jury is comprised of nine of your fellow citizens selected at random. Its function is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed and that the suspect probably committed the crime. If you are to testify before the Grand Jury, please report to the second floor of the Champaign County Courthouse where an advocate will be present to assist you.
The only persons present while you testify before the Grand Jury are the Grand Jurors, the Prosecuting Attorney and the Court Reporter. Since the defendant and his/her attorney are not present in the Grand Jury room, there is no formal cross-examination. If an indictment is issued by the Grand Jury, the case would then proceed to Arraignment in the Common Pleas Court.
An Arraignment is the time at which the defendant appears before the arraigning Judge to be informed of the charges he/she faces, bond is considered, and a Pretrial Conference is set.
This meeting is normally between the Prosecutor and the Defense Attorney in the Judge’s chambers without the defendant present. It is usually the time that matters of procedure are discussed and the trial date is set.
The Final Pretrial is a hearing held approximately three weeks before the scheduled trial date. If a resolution has been reached, a plea is entered or scheduled for hearing. If there is no resolution, the case proceeds to trial.
A trial occurs if no plea resolution is reached. At the trial, the Prosecutor presents the case for the State, with the requirement to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did commit the crime as charged. The defendant may present his/her side through his/her attorney.
The trial “time table” is usually as follows: the case must come to trial within 90 days if the defendant is kept in jail and within 270 days if he/she is out on bond. These times may be extended if either side requests a continuance and the Judge approves it.
If there is a guilty verdict as a result of the trial or if the defendant is found guilty as the result of a plea resolution, the Judge usually orders a pre-sentence investigation to be completed by the Adult Parole Authority. The officer preparing this report may contact you for your input and opinion regarding the case. The sentencing involves the judgment of the court concerning the offender’s punishment; which may include restitution, community service, probation, imprisonment, or the death penalty. After sentencing, the offender has thirty days in which to file an appeal regarding his conviction or sentence.
We appreciate your cooperation in the prosecution of this crime. Without victims and witnesses reporting and testifying about crime, offenders cannot be held accountable.
You have the right to attend any court proceeding.
* = Your testimony may be required.
200 North Main Street
Urbana, OH 43078