Morgan County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Morgan County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Morgan County.
What happens in Morgan County at an arraignment?
In Morgan County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
In a jury trial in Morgan County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Prosecutor in Morgan County
In Morgan County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Morgan County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Alabama. For the most part, the prosecutor in Morgan County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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 Morgan County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
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.
Who can help me in Morgan County?
For general information about your case the Morgan County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
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.
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.
Morgan County Required Court Appearances
In Morgan County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Morgan County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Morgan County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Morgan County Criminal Court Locations
Morgan County Circuit Court
Address: 302 Lee St NE, PO Box 668, Decatur AL 35602
Morgan County District Court
Address: 302 Lee St NE, PO Box 668, Decatur AL 35602
Decatur Municipal Court
Address: 402 Lee St NE, PO Box 488, Decatur AL 35602
Phone: 256-341-4676 Fax: 256-341-4677
Falkville Municipal Court
Address: 21 N 1st Ave, PO Box 407, Falkville AL 35622
Phone: 256-784-5922 Fax: 256-784-9510
Hartselle Municipal Court
Address: 200 N Sparkman St, Hartselle AL 35640
Phone: 256-773-2703 Fax: 256-773-2257
Priceville Municipal Court
Address: 242 Marco Dr, Priceville AL 35603
Phone: 256-355-5476 Fax: 256-351-0563
Somerville Municipal Court
Address: 24 Courthouse Sq, PO Box 153, Somerville AL 35670
Trinity Municipal Court
Address: 35 Preston Dr, Trinity AL 35673