Shawnee County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Shawnee County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Shawnee County.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Shawnee 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.
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.
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.
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.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Shawnee County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Sentencing in Shawnee County
In Shawnee County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Mandatory Appearances in Shawnee County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Shawnee 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.
Shawnee County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Shawnee County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Shawnee County. The Shawnee 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.
Shawnee County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Shawnee County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Shawnee 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 Shawnee 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.
Shawnee County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Shawnee County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Where can I get help for my Shawnee 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 Shawnee 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.
The Right to Trial by Jury
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.
Shawnee County Criminal Court Locations
Shawnee County District Court
Address: 200 SE 7th Street, Topeka, KS 66603
Phone: 785-251-4327 Fax: 785-291-4908
Auburn Municipal Court
Address: 161 West 9th, PO Box 160, Auburn, KS 66402
Phone: 785-256-2426 Fax: 785-256-2908
Rossville Municipal Court
Address: 438 Main Street, PO Box 337, Rossville, KS 66533
Phone: 785-584-6155 Fax: 785-584-6667
Silver Lake Municipal Court
Address: 218 West Railroad Street, PO Box 92, Silver Lake, KS 66539
Phone: 785-582-4280 Fax: 785-582-4195
Topeka Municipal Court
Address: 214 SE 8th Street, Topeka, KS 66603
Phone: 785-368-3776 Fax: 785-368-3782