Hours:
8:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Monday through Friday


Courthouse Annex No. 1
147-A West Main Street
St. Clairsville, Ohio 43950
Phone: 740-699-2771
Fax: 740-695-4412

Copyright © 2014, Belmont County Prosecutor's Office, Daniel P. Fry


Belmont County Prosecuting Attorney
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a subpoena?  
A subpoena is an official court order requiring you to appear at the time and place to provide testimony. It continues to bind you to appear at all subsequent setting until the case reaches final disposition. You should have your subpoena with you when you appear. Failure to appear constitutes contempt of court. If you should move or change your phone number, please contact the Prosecuting Attorney's office immediately. Your subpoena may give a specific time or it may direct you to call before you coming to court. Remember, we are here to help you, so be certain to let us know of any problems you may encounter. Please dress appropriately for court appearances and refrain from consuming alcohol before coming to court.

How does a complaint become a criminal case?
Local law enforcement officers investigate a case and, if they feel there is sufficient evidence, the application for warrant is sent to the Prosecuting Attorney's office. If after reviewing the facts, the prosecutor feels that a person should be charged with a crime, a complaint and an arrest warrant are prepared and the judicial cycle begins. The complaint is not a formal charge and in felony cases the defendant is entitled to a preliminary hearing before he/she is formally charged and becomes subject to trial. Since we do not currently have a grand jury in Belmont County, the next step in which you may be involved is the preliminary hearing.

What is a preliminary hearing?
A preliminary hearing is held in an Associate Circuit Court. The defendant, his/her attorney and any pertinent witnesses will be present along with an assistant prosecuting attorney. A hearing will be held, unless waived (allowed to continue to the next step without requiring a hearing) by the defendant, and if sufficient evidence is presented the case proceeds to the Circuit Court for further legal proceedings. This does not mean the defendant is legally guilty. It means that they are now formally charged.

What happens in a trial?
In a trial, the attorney from the Prosecuting Attorney's office presents the case for the state and has the burden of proving "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the defendant did commit the alleged crime. The defendant may present evidence, although he/she has no obligation to do so. Furthermore, the defendant may not be compelled to testify. He/she will, however, be present throughout the proceeding. The trial may be either before a judge or before a jury.