Benton County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Benton County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Benton County.
Where will Benton County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Benton County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Benton County.
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.
Prosecutor in Benton County
In Benton County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Benton County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Mississippi. For the most part, the prosecutor in Benton County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Sentencing in Benton County
In Benton 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.
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.
Jury Deliberations in Benton County
In Benton 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.
Benton County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Benton County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Benton 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 Benton 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 an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Benton County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Mandatory Appearances in Benton County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Benton 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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Benton 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.
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 can help me in Benton County?
For general information about your case the Benton 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.
Benton County Criminal Court Locations
Benton County Circuit Court
Address: 190 Ripley Ave, PO Box 262, Ashland MS 38603
Phone: 662-224-6310 Fax: 662-224-6312
Benton County Chancery Court
Address: PO Box 218, Ashland MS 38603
Phone: 662-224-6300 Fax: 662-224-6303
Benton County Youth Court
Address: PO Box 218, Ashland MS 38603
Phone: 662-224-6300 Fax: 662-224-6672
Benton County Justice Court
Address: 190 Ripley Ave, PO Box 152, Ashland, MS 38603
Phone: 662-224-6320 Fax: 662-224-6313
Ashland Municipal Court
Address: 15870 Boundary Dr, PO Box 246, Ashland MS 38603
Phone: 662-224-6282 Fax: 662-224-8257
Hickory Flat Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 479, Hickory Flat MS 38633
Phone: 662-333-7884 Fax: 662-333-6003
Snow Lake Shores Municipal Court
Address: 190 Ripley Ave, PO Box 400, Ashland MS 38603
Phone: 662-224-3050 Fax: 662-224-3338