Criminal | Guernsey County, Ohio

The Criminal Section of the Guernsey County Clerk of Courts is responsible for managing and retaining records in felony cases. The Criminal Section also processes documents filed in fugitive from justice cases, extraditions from other states and expungements.

Felony prosecutions begin in the Common Pleas Court with the filing of either an indictment issued by the Guernsey County Grand Jury or information by the prosecuting attorney for the county or the Ohio Attorney General.

An adult suspected of committing a felony can be arrested on a complaint and warrant filed in the Guernsey County Municipal Court. In that instance, the accused will initially appear before a Municipal Court judge for consideration of bond and the scheduling of a preliminary or bind-over hearing in which a judge considers whether evidence presented by the prosecution establishes probable cause to believe the accused has committed the offense charged in the complaint.

Also, an older juvenile accused of an offense that would be a felony if committed by an adult can, at the request of the prosecuting attorney, be bound over for trial as an adult if a Juvenile Court judge finds probable cause to believe the juvenile committed the alleged offense and further finds that the accused is not amenable to rehabilitation within the juvenile corrections system.

Bond set for purposes of a bind-over hearing will generally be continued until the grand jury has the opportunity to consider evidence and hand down an indictment. Also, after an indictment, an accused who receives a summons and appears in court for arraignment will usually qualify for a recognizance bond.

Bonds in all felony cases are posted with the Criminal Section. To allow time for the Sheriff’s office to transport prisoners to the clerk’s office to sign bond papers, the bonds must be posted by 4:00 p.m. for release the same day. An accused who makes bond will then be returned to the Guernsey County Jail and released from that location.

All information regarding felony cases is open to the public except for information relating to Grand Jury proceedings, records that have been expunged, and the content of law enforcement and probation department investigative files.

A research area with computer terminals and printers is available to facilitate research, and copies of documents can be obtained for a minimal charge.