Ottawa County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Ottawa County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Ottawa County.
Required Court Appearances in Ottawa County
Any required court appearances in Ottawa County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Prosecutor in Ottawa County
In Ottawa County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Ottawa County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Kansas. For the most part, the prosecutor in Ottawa County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
What happens in Ottawa County at an arraignment?
In Ottawa 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.
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.
Where can I get help for my Ottawa 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 Ottawa 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.
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.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
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 will Ottawa County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Ottawa County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Ottawa County.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Ottawa County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
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.
Ottawa County Criminal Court Locations
Ottawa County District Court
Address: 307 North Concord Street, Minneapolis, KS 67467
Phone: 785-392-2917 Fax: 785-392-3626
Bennington Municipal Court
Address: 121 North Nelson Street, PO Box 415, Bennington, KS 67422
Phone: 785-488-3767 Fax: 785-488-3375
Delphos Municipal Court
Address: 202 West 2nd Street, PO Box 376, Delphos, KS 67436
Phone: 785-523-4361 Fax: 785-523-4391
Minneapolis Municipal Court
Address: 218 North Rock Street, Minneapolis, KS 67467
Phone: 785-392-2176 Fax: 785-392-2177
Tescott Municipal Court
Address: 101 North Main Street, Tescott, KS 67484