Prairie County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Prairie County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Prairie County.
Prosecutor in Prairie County
In Prairie County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Prairie County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Arkansas. For the most part, the prosecutor in Prairie County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
Prairie County Required Court Appearances
In Prairie 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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Prairie 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.
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 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 happens in Prairie County at an arraignment?
In Prairie 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.
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.
Prairie County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Prairie County will take place at the Prairie County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Prairie County Criminal Court Locations.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
In a jury trial in Prairie 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.
Who can help me in Prairie County?
For general information about your case the Prairie 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.
Prairie County Criminal Court Locations
Prairie County Circuit Court
Address: 200 Courthouse Sq, #104, Des Arc AR 72040
Phone: 870-256-4434 Fax: 870-256-4434
Prairie County Circuit Court
Address: 183 W Prairie St, DeValls Bluff AR 72041
Prairie County District Court – Biscoe
Address: PO Box 187, Biscoe AR 72017
Phone: 870-998-2226 Fax: 870-998-2449
Prairie County District Court – Des Arc
Address: 107 S 3rd St, PO Box 389, Des Arc AR 72040
Phone: 870-256-3011 Fax: 870-256-4612
Prairie County District Court – DeValls Bluff
Address: PO Box 297, DeValls Bluff AR 72041
Phone: 870-998-2301 Fax: 870-998-7252
Prairie County District Court – Hazen
Address: PO Box 564, Hazen AR 72064
Phone: 870-255-4514 Fax: 501-255-3637