Washington County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Washington County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Washington 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.
Washington County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Washington County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Mandatory Appearances in Washington County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Washington 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.
In a jury trial in Washington 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 Washington County?
For general information about your case the Washington 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.
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.
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.
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 Washington County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Washington County criminal cases will either be a representative of Washington County or a representative from Arkansas. 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.
Washington County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Washington County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Washington 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 Washington 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.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Washington 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.
Washington County Criminal Court Locations
Washington County Circuit Court
Address: 280 N College, #302, Fayetteville AR 72701
Phone: 479-444-1538 Fax: 479-444-1537
Washington County District Court – Elkins
Address: 1874 Stokenbury Rd, Elkins AR 72727
Phone: 479-643-4170 Fax: 479-643-3060
Washington County District Court – Elm Springs
Address: 289 Jayroe St, PO Box 74, Elm Springs AR 72728
Phone: 479-248-7323 Fax: 479-248-1092
Washington County District Court – Farmington
Address: 354 W Main St, Farmington AR 72730
Phone: 479-267-3865 Fax: 501-267-5511
Washington County District Court – Fayetteville
Address: 176 S Church Ave, #1, Fayetteville AR 72701
Phone: 479-587-3591 Fax: 479-444-3480
Washington County District Court – Greenland
Address: PO Box 67, Greenland AR 72737
Phone: 479-521-5760 Fax: 479-521-7780
Washington County District Court – Johnson
Address: PO Box 563, Johnson AR 72741
Phone: 479-521-3192 Fax: 479-521-9157
Washington County District Court – Lincoln
Address: 101 E Arthur Ave, PO Box 967, Lincoln AR 72744
Phone: 479-824-3321 Fax: 479-824-4126
Washington County District Court – Prairie Grove
Address: PO Box 329, Prairie Grove AR 72753
Phone: 479-846-3467 Fax: 479-846-5548
Washington County District Court – Springdale
Address: 201 Spring St, Springdale AR 72764
Phone: 479-750-8150 Fax: 479-750-8564
Washington County District Court – West Fork
Address: 262 W Main St, PO Box 339, West Fork AR 72774
Phone: 479-839-3249 Fax: 479-839-3335