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Frequently Asked Questions

Criminal Process

Q

When does the Clinton County Attorney's office charge a defendant with a crime?

A

When the police have conducted an investigation and feel that enough evidence exists to show a crime has occurred, that a particular defendant committed the crime, and that there is a reasonable probability of a conviction.

Q

Why are some defendants not in jail after they have been arrested and charged?

A

They have posted bond or have been released on some type of pre-trial release program.

Q

How can I find out when a particular court date is?

A
  • If you are a defendant, contact your attorney or call the Clerk of Court's office at 563-243-6213.
  • If you are a victim or witness to a criminal case call the Clinton County Attorney's Office at 563-243-6218.
Q

How can I get information on a case?

A

If you are the victim of a crime, contact our office with questions about the case. Otherwise, a great tool to use is the Iowa Courts Online website. You can search for a case by name or case number, see the filings on a case, as well as disposition information.

Q

I cannot afford an attorney. How do I get the Court to appoint one?

A

Contact the Clerk of Court's office at 563-243-6213. If you are arrested, you may be able to obtain a court-appointed attorney at your initial appearance if certain criteria are met.

Q

Who do I see about getting my driver's license back or getting a work permit?

A

Contact your local DOT (Department of Transportation) office.

Q

How do I know if there is a warrant out for my arrest?

A

If you missed your court date for a criminal charge, a warrant may have been issued for your arrest. Normally, notice of this type of warrant gets mailed to your last known address.

If you think there is a warrant for your arrest because of a new criminal charge, you should contact your local police department to turn yourself in, if such a warrant does exist. Warrants for new charges are, by law, confidential and not disclosed by the Clerk of Court because some people wanted for a crime would flee the jurisdiction.
 

Subpoena

Q

What happens if I do not appear at the time and place specified in the subpoena?.

A

Failure to appear in district court constitutes contempt of court, which could possibly result in a warrant issued for your arrest, a fine up to $500 or imprisonment of up to 6 months.

Q

I have received a subpoena. Who can I call if I have questions?

A

Check to see who issued the subpoena. If the subpoena is from the Clinton County Attorney's Office there will be a telephone number listed at the bottom of the subpoena – call that number to speak directly to an attorney assigned to the case. If there is no number, call 563-243-6218 to find out who is assigned to the case.

Q

I have been subpoenaed to appear in court, but I cannot get off work. What should I do?

A

Your employer is required by State law to allow you to testify in court, as long as you have a court ordered subpoena. If your employer refuses to allow you time to testify, immediately call the prosecutor listed on your subpoena.

Q

Will the defendant be there when I have to testify?

A

Yes. The defendant has a constitutional right to face their accuser and will be present at all court proceedings.

Q

I am a witness in a case, and I have moved recently. Who should I notify of my new address?

A

If you move or change your phone number, immediately contact the attorney assigned to the case.

Q

Do I have to talk to the defense attorney, the defendant, or anyone else connected to the case?

A

You are not required to talk to a defense attorney, the defendant, or anyone else connected to the case. If the defense wants your statement, they may subpoena you for a deposition at which time a member of the County Attorney's Office will be present. When you discuss the facts of the case you are involved with, always tell the truth.

Q

What is a deposition?

A

A witness’ statements, taken under oath, which are put into writing by a court reporter. These statements are made out-of-court in the presence of Assistant County Attorney, the defendant and the defense attorney.

Truancy

Q

What is truancy?

A

Truancy means being absent from school without reasonable excuse. A child who has too many unexcused absences can be considered truant. 

Q

Why did I receive a letter from the County Attorney’s office about an Attendance Cooperation Meeting?

A

You received this letter because your child’s school has determined that your child has too many unexcused absences from school. You are being requested to attend an Attendance Cooperation Meeting to discuss attendance issues and determine a solution for improving the child’s attendance. The Clinton County Attorney’s office provides notice of these meetings in an effort to decrease truancy in our community and support local schools on truancy issues. It is important that you attend this meeting, failure to attend an Attendance Cooperation Meeting may result in charges being filed against the parent/guardian for non-compliance. 

No Contact Orders

Q

What happens after someone is arrested for domestic abuse?

A

Within 24 hours after a person is arrested for domestic abuse, assault or harassment, he or she will be brought before a judge or magistrate. At that time, the defendant will be provided notice of the next court appearance and generally served a criminal no contact order preventing ANY contact with the victim(s). The No Contact Order remains in effect until it is lifted, modified or the case is disposed of by the court. The clerk of court will send a copy of the no contact order to the protected party. It will be sent to the address the protected party provided to law enforcement when the incident took place.

Q

What does a No Contact Order mean?

A

If the defendant is served with a No Contact Order, he or she must avoid all contact with the victim(s). This means the defendant may not communicate with the victim in person, phone, mail, and social media or through a 3rd party. Any contact with the defendant is considered a violation of the No Contact Order.  If you, the victim, were to contact the defendant, through any of the means mentioned, while the No Contact Order is in place, you would be assisting in the violation of the Order and may be held in contempt of court.

If the defendant was living with the victim, he or she must move out of the residence. The defendant cannot come within the immediate vicinity of the victim’s protected address or place of employment. Unless modified by the Court, the defendant may only enter the residence in the company of a peace officer to retrieve clothing and work-related items.   This is the responsibility of the defendant and his attorney to arrange this.

If the defendant sees the victim in a public place, it is the defendant’s responsibility to avoid contact. Every effort should be made by the victim to avoid contact with the defendant. If the defendant does not comply with the No Contact Order, the defendant could be arrested and a hearing set to determine if he or she is in contempt of court. Contact law enforcement with ANY possible violations of the No Contact Order.
 

Q

How do I get a Restraining Order?

A

There are many different types of Restraining Orders. The reason you need a Restraining Order will determine the process and procedures used to apply for the Order.

The most common, No Contact Orders, are issued in cases in which a person has been arrested and charged with a crime. These orders are commonly called Criminal No Contact Orders. They are generally issued in cases of domestic abuse assault, harassment, stalking, sexual abuse, and assault. These orders are requested by the Clinton County Attorney’s Office at the time of the defendant’s first appearance before a judge.

Another common order is a Protective Order. These orders are issued through the Civil Court and involve those persons who have been victims of domestic abuse. It is not required that the person who committed the assault be arrested to obtain the order. Applications for the Protective Order may be through the Clerk of Courts Office located on the first floor of the Clinton County Courthouse.
 

Q

The offender violated the No Contact Order. Who do I notify?

A

You will want to report this to the police department in the city in which the violation occurred. They will investigate the incident and determine whether a charge should be filed. If they do not file a charge, they may submit it to the Clinton County Attorney’s Office for review. We will then determine if there is enough evidence to file the charge.

If you have a No Contact Order in which a criminal charge (domestic abuse assault, harassment, assault, stalking, sexual abuse, etc.) is pending, you will also want to contact the attorney in the Clinton County Attorney’s Office who is handling your case. If you do not know who the attorney assigned to handle your case is, you can call the Clinton County Attorney’s Office at 563-243-6218 to find out.