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Law Department - File a Complaint

Complaint Filing Procedures and Services

Citizens with a criminal complaint should first contact their local Police Department (or Stark County Sheriff's office - where there is no local Police Department) for their assistance and investigation. In some cases, due to manpower restrictions or police response priorities, the Police Department or Sheriff's office may be unavailable or unable to help. In such a case, The Canton Prosecutor's Office is available for the filing of private criminal complaints with the possibility of filing criminal charges if necessary.

Where and When to File

If the incident of complaint occurred within the above mentioned service area, and involves a person 18 years or older, a complaint may be filed with the Canton City Prosecutor's Office. The office is located on the Seventh Floor of Canton City Hall, 218 Cleveland Avenue SW, Canton, OH 44702. The office is open for complaints Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 A.M. and 4:00 P.M.

What to Expect

Upon arrival at the City Prosecutor's Office, you will be asked by the receptionist to fill out a complaint form. You will than have an opportunity to speak to a staff member about your concerns. During the course of your interview, the staffmember will ask you questions to determine if your complaint actually alleges criminal activity. The Prosecutor's Office handles only criminal complaints, examples of which include: domestic violence, assault, theft, telephone harassment and vandalism.

Once you have met with a staff member, he or she will make a determination as to whether criminal charges should be filed or other action taken if necessary. This can be in the form of a letter being sent to the individual being complained about or setting a date for a Prosecutor's Hearing. The hearing is held in Law Department offices and each side is given the opportunity to explain their positions. Witnesses can be informally questioned and a determination can be made whether there is sufficient evidence to file a criminal complaint. There is no cost for a letter written by the Prosecutor's office or for a Prosecutor's Hearing. There is, however, an administrative fee of $76.00 payable to Canton Municipal Clerk of Courts for processing and filing a private criminal complaint.

The City Prosecutor's Office can authorize criminal charges only where there is legally sufficient evidence to demonstrate that a crime was committed by the person or persons accused. The Prosecutor's Office alone cannot issue peace bonds or restraining orders. In Domestic Violence cases, the Judge may issue a temporary protection order but only after Domestic Violence charges are actually filed and a hearing is held.

In the event that a staff member determines that the complaint is civil in nature, you will be advised to seek private legal counsel. Civil Complaints include matter dealing with breach of contract, bad debts and landlord/tenant disputes. If you do not have an attorney you may call the Stark County Bar Association Lawyer's Referral Service at (330) 453-0685. The initial fee for this service is $30.00 for a half-hour conference.

The Canton Law Department Criminal Division cannot collect money for property damage or personal injury. Such actions are civil in nature and can be handled by filing a Civil Complaint in Canton Municipal Court. The filing fee for a Small Claims Complaint is listed at http://www.cantoncourt.org/fees/civil_costs.html or can be obtained by calling the Municipal Clerk of Courts' Office at (330) 489-3204.

 

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