Jefferson County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Jefferson County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Jefferson County.
Mandatory Appearances in Jefferson County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Jefferson 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.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
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.
Jefferson County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Jefferson County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Jury Deliberations in Jefferson County
In Jefferson County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
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.
Who can help me in Jefferson County?
For general information about your case the Jefferson 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.
Jefferson County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Jefferson County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Jefferson County. The Jefferson 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.
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.
What if I can’t afford an attorney?
The 6th Amendment guarantees you the right to an attorney whether or not you can afford one. If you cannot afford one, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.
Arraignments in Jefferson County
During an arraignment in Jefferson 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 Jefferson 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 Jefferson County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Jefferson County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Jefferson County Criminal Court Locations
Jefferson County Circuit Court
Address: 101 W Barraque St, Pine Bluff AR 71601
Phone: 870-541-5311 Fax: 870-541-5453
Jefferson County District Court – Altheimer
Address: PO Box 728, Altheimer AR 72004
Phone: 870-766-8229 Fax: 870-766-4875
Jefferson County District Court – Humphrey
Address: PO Box 128, Humphrey AR 72073
Phone: 870-873-4615 Fax: 870-873-4657
Jefferson County District Court – Pine Bluff Division 1
Address: PO Box 8747, Pine Bluff AR 71611
Phone: 870-541-4646 Fax: 870-541-4640
Jefferson County District Court – Pine Bluff Division 2
Address: 223 E 3rd Ave, Pine Bluff AR 71601
Phone: 870-850-7584 Fax: 870-850-2440
Jefferson County District Court – Redfield
Address: 509 Sheridan Rd, PO Box 304, Redfield AR 72132
Phone: 501-397-6111 Fax: 501-397-2350
Jefferson County District Court – Wabbaseka
Address: PO Box 3029, Pine Bluff AR 71611
Phone: 870-692-0326 Fax: 870-766-4262
Jefferson County District Court – White Hall
Address: 101 Parkway Dr, PO Box 20100, White Hall AR 71602
Phone: 870-247-1420 Fax: 870-247-4870