Tuscaloosa County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Tuscaloosa County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Tuscaloosa County.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
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.
Where will Tuscaloosa County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Tuscaloosa County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Tuscaloosa County.
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.
Where can I get help for my Tuscaloosa County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Tuscaloosa County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
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.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Who is the prosecutor for Tuscaloosa County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Tuscaloosa County criminal cases will either be a representative of Tuscaloosa County or a representative from Alabama. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
Tuscaloosa County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Tuscaloosa County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Tuscaloosa County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Tuscaloosa County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.
Mandatory Appearances in Tuscaloosa County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Tuscaloosa 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.
Tuscaloosa County Criminal Court Locations
Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court
Address: 714 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa AL 35401
Phone: 205-349-3870 x259
Tuscaloosa County District Court
Address: 714 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa AL 35401
Phone: 205-349-3870 x355
Brookwood Municipal Court
Address: 15689 Hwy 216, Brookwood AL 35444
Phone: 205 556-2786
Coaling Municipal Court
Address: 11281 Stephens Loop, PO Box 10, Coaling AL 35449
Lake View Municipal Court
Address: 21289 Phyllis Dr, Lake View AL 35111
Northport Municipal Court
Address: 3721 26th Ave, Northport AL 35473
Tuscaloosa Municipal Court
Address: 2122 6th St, PO Box 2089, Tuscaloosa AL 35403
Phone: 205-248-5330 Fax: 205-247-7845
Vance Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 107, Vance AL 35490