DeSoto County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in DeSoto County. See below for more information about criminal cases in DeSoto County.
DeSoto County Required Court Appearances
In DeSoto 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.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In DeSoto 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 happens in DeSoto County at an arraignment?
In DeSoto 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.
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.
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.
DeSoto County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in DeSoto County, the prosecutor will be a representative of DeSoto County. The DeSoto 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.
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.
Who can help me in DeSoto County?
For general information about your case the DeSoto 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.
In a jury trial in DeSoto 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.
DeSoto County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the DeSoto County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
DeSoto County Criminal Court Locations
DeSoto County Circuit Court
Address: 2535 Hwy 51 S, Rm 201, Hernando MS 38632
Phone: 662-469-8007 Fax: 662-469-8370
DeSoto County Chancery Court
Address: 2535 Hwy 51 S, Rm 104, PO Box 949, Hernando MS 38632
Phone: 662-469-8005 Fax: 662-469-8308
County Court of DeSoto County
Address: 2535 Hwy 51 S, Rm 201, Herndando MS 38632
Phone: 662-469-8007 Fax: 662-469-8370
DeSoto County Youth Court
Address: 2535 Hwy 51 S, Hernando MS 38632
Phone: 662-469-8336 Fax: 662-469-8337
DeSoto County Justice Court
Address: 8525 Hwy 51 N, Southaven MS 38671
Phone: 662-469-8026 Fax: 662-469-8825
Hernando Municipal Court
Address: 2601 Elm St, Hernando MS 38632
Phone: 662-429-9096 Fax: 662-449-3350
Horn Lake Municipal Court
Address: 3101 Goodman Rd, Ste B, Horn Lake MS 38637
Phone: 662-342-3541 Fax: 662-342-3481
Olive Branch Municipal Court
Address: 6900 Highland St, Olive Branch MS 38654
Phone: 662-892-9500 Fax: 662-892-9510
Southaven Municipal Court
Address: 8889 Northwest Dr, Southaven MS 38671
Phone: 662-393-7042 Fax: 662-280-6536
Walls Municipal Court
Address: 9087 Walls Rd, PO Box 35, Walls MS 38680
Phone: 662-781-1282 Fax: 662-781-5444