Complaint Filing Procedures and Services
In the event you feel a criminal act has occurred you should first contact the Mansfield Police Department (or Richland County Sheriff’s Office in the unincorporated areas of the Mansfield Municipal Court’s jurisdiction) for assistance. In most cases the Police Department or Sheriff’s Office will respond immediately to your complaint, act on it and file a general offense report. However, in some cases, because of police response priorities the Police Department or Sheriff’s Office may be unavailable or unable to render immediate assistance. In those cases where immediate assistance is unavailable, you should, at your convenience, come on-station to the respective department and file a general offense report. For those situations where immediate assistance is unavailable, the Mansfield Law Director’s Office is available for the review of possible criminal charges.
Where and When to File
If the incident of the complaint occurred within the above mentioned service area, and involves a person 18 years or older, you may fill out a Complaint Request Form and return it to the Criminal Division of the Mansfield Law Director’s Office. The office is located on the second floor of the City’s Administration Building, 30 North Diamond Street, Mansfield, OH 44902. The office is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. and 1:00 P.M and 4:00 P.M. The telephone number is (419) 755-9651. An online copy of the form is available at the link below. Once this form is filled out, drop it off with the appropriate paperwork to the Law Director’s Office.
What to Expect
When you give the Complaint Request Form to the Law Director’s Office, the following information should be included with it: 1) a law enforcement general offense report documenting the complaining incident; 2) a personal statement of the incident; 3) statements of any witnesses to the incident; 4) photographs, if any exist; 5) documentation of any damage or monetary loss, if any; 6) medical bills and/or reports, if applicable, and 6) a copy of the protection order, if applicable. The Law Director’s Office handles only criminal complaints, examples of which include: assault, theft, and criminal damaging.
Once you turn in the Complaint Request Form, it will be reviewed by the group of Assistant Law Directors, who will make a determination as to whether criminal charges should be filed or other action taken if necessary which can be in the form of a letter being sent to the individual being complained about. The Assistant Law Directors meet on Friday afternoons to review potential charges as a group.
The Law Director’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 Law Director’s Office 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 it is determined that the complaint is civil in nature, you will be advised to seek private legal counsel. Civil Complaints include matters dealing with breach of contract, bad debts and landlord/tenant disputes. If you do not have an attorney you may call the Richland County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (419) 524-9944. The initial fee for this service is $20.00 for a schedule one-half hour appointment.
The Criminal Division of the Law Director’s Office 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 Mansfield Municipal Court. The filing fee for a Small Claims Complaint can be obtained by calling the Municipal Clerk of Courts’ Office at (419) 755-9632.