County attorneys are elected in their counties of residence every four years. To become a county attorney in Kentucky, a person must be at least 24 years of age, is required to be a citizen of Kentucky, must have been a resident of the state for two years, and must reside in the county for which he or she serves, one year prior to the election. Lastly, the county attorney candidate must be a licensed practicing attorney for two years prior to election.
The county attorney’s office performs many services and duties. The most obvious responsibility is the prosecution of all violations of criminal law within the jurisdiction of the district court; that includes all misdemeanors, such as DUI offenses, other traffic violations, assault, and theft of less than $300.
County attorneys have prosecutorial jurisdiction over juvenile issues, which include criminal acts, dependency, neglect, and abuse. They also work with judges to issue emergency protective orders in domestic violence cases, handle extraditions, and oversee mental commitments and disability cases. In circuit court, county attorneys handle felony preliminary hearings and prosecute to recover delinquent taxes.
In addition to these prosecutorial duties, county attorneys serve as counsel to their counties’ fiscal courts, districts, commissions, boards, and county officials in all legal issues (excluding Fayette County). For example, if a new easement is to be constructed, county attorneys advise elected officials on the county’s rights as a landowner. Where does our land end and someone else’s begin? If a county government or agency is sued, the county attorney advises elected officials and defends the county’s position in court.
Beyond these duties, many county attorneys choose to take on additional responsibilities to help their communities, such as collecting cold checks on behalf of merchants and businesses, delinquent property taxes for their counties, and delinquent child support payments for parents.
(Information provided by Kentucky County Attorneys Association)
201 W Main St
Scottsville, KY 42164
Office: (270) 237-3117