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Though our daily lives are affected by local, state and federal government agencies, often we don’t understand their functions or purpose.
For example, if you asked people at random what they believed is the function of the county attorney’s office, they probably would tell you this is the person who prosecutes traffic offenses.
Some may even go further and tell you that the county attorney prosecutes misdemeanors and child-support cases.
These things are true, but few people know that the county attorney’s office is responsible for much more.
My office also prosecutes all matters involving juveniles, unless they are being tried as adults. These include cases involving runaways, truancy, and being beyond the control of their parents or school.
The county attorney has the duty of assisting the Cabinet for Health and Family Services in all matters of dependency, neglect and abuse.
My office also is responsible for helping to collect cold checks. This means that if someone writes you a check for goods or services and that check is returned to you for insufficient funds, you can contact the county attorney’s office to file a complaint and have that check collected. This is done at no cost to you.
The county attorney also collects delinquent county taxes. If you fail to pay your county taxes, you could face legal consequences, including a lawsuit, garnishment or foreclosure of your property. However, none of that is necessary: If you owe delinquent taxes, you can contact the county attorney’s office before you get in trouble to set up a payment plan.
The County Attorney also assists people with family members who may be legally disabled. Under Kentucky law, if you believe a family member is incompetent or unable to tend to his or her basic financial needs and welfare, you may petition the District Court to become that person’s legal guardian or conservator.
This is not the same as filing for Social Security Disability. This process entails that the person in question be evaluated by a medical doctor, a qualified mental health professional and social worker. Once evaluated, a jury trial is held to determine if a guardian or conservator is needed.
This could be a daunting process to navigate, but it is the job of the county attorney to help people through it.
Also, if you have a loved one who is suffering from severe alcohol or drug use, or is mentally ill and refusing to seek treatment or evaluation, the County Attorney may assist you with ensuring that person is evaluated for inpatient treatment.
Another function of the county attorney is to be provide legal representation for county officials, including fiscal court by assisting the judge-executive, magistrates and other officials with legal matters.
Despite all of these various duties, it is my goal as your Carroll County attorney – and the goal of my office staff – to serve you.
If you are having an issue in any of the areas we service, I invite you to call or come to my office and see if there is something we can do for you.
We recently relocated our offices to 115 Fifth St., Carrollton, and can be reached by phone at (502) 732-7009. Our regular office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please feel free to call me or any of my staff members to find out if we can be of assistance to you.
Nick Marsh is the Carroll County Attorney and resides in Carroll County.