Lauderdale County Criminal Court

Lauderdale County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Lauderdale County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Lauderdale County.

Lauderdale County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Lauderdale County will take place at the Lauderdale County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Lauderdale County Criminal Court Locations.

Plea Agreements

A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Lauderdale County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.

Lauderdale County Criminal Court

Lauderdale County Criminal Court

Appealing a guilty verdict

A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.

What is Jury Deliberation?

After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Lauderdale County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Lauderdale County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Lauderdale County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Lauderdale County. The Lauderdale County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.

Arraignments in Lauderdale County

During an arraignment in Lauderdale County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Lauderdale County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Lauderdale County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

Mandatory Appearances in Lauderdale County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Lauderdale County, the defendant must appear before the court. In the event of a “Failure to Appear” the judge may issue a warrant for the arrest of the defendant. Note: not all criminal hearings are mandatory, in a non-mandatory hearing an attorney may appear on your behalf without you being in court.

I need help for my Lauderdale County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Lauderdale County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Lauderdale County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Defendant Sentencing

At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

Lauderdale County Criminal Court Locations

  • Lauderdale County Circuit Court

    Address: 200 S Court St, PO Box 776, Florence AL 35631
    Phone: 256-760-5728 Fax: 256-760-5727

  • Lauderdale County District Court

    Address: 200 S Court St, PO Box 776, Florence AL 35631
    Phone: 256-760-5728 Fax: 256-760-5727

  • Florence Municipal Court

    Address: 651 S Seminary St, Florence AL 35630
    Phone: 256-760-6625 Fax: 256-760-6509

  • Killen Municipal Court

    Address: 319 JC Mauldin Hwy, PO Box 27, Killen AL 35645
    Phone: 256-757-1246

  • Lexington Municipal Court

    Address: 11060 Hwy 101, PO Box 457, Lexington AL 36548
    Phone: 256-229-5221

  • Rogersville Municipal Court

    Address: 36 Wheeler St, PO Box 540, Rogersville AL 35652
    Phone: 256-247-5446 Fax: 256-247-1777

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.