Forrest County Criminal Court

Forrest County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Forrest County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Forrest County.

Prosecutor in Forrest County

In Forrest County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Forrest County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Mississippi. For the most part, the prosecutor in Forrest County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Forrest 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.

Forrest County Criminal Court

Forrest County Criminal Court

Forrest County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Forrest County will take place at the Forrest County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Forrest County Criminal Court Locations.

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.

Forrest County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Forrest County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Forrest 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 Forrest 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.

Where can I get help for my Forrest 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 Forrest 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.

Sentencing in Forrest County

In Forrest 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.

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.

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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Forrest 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.

Required Court Appearances in Forrest County

Any required court appearances in Forrest 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.

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.

Forrest County Criminal Court Locations

  • Forrest County Circuit Court

    Address: 630 Main St, PO Box 992, Hattiesburg MS 39403
    Phone: 601-582-3213 Fax: 601-545-6065

  • Forrest County Chancery Court

    Address: 641 N Main St, PO Box 951, Hattiesburg MS 39403
    Phone: 601-545-6040 Fax: 601-545-6017

  • County Court of Forrest County

    Address: 630 Main St, PO Box 992, Hattiesburg MS 39403
    Phone: 601-582-3213 Fax: 601-545-6065

  • Forrest County Youth Court

    Address: 630 Main St, PO Box 992, Hattiesburg MS 39403
    Phone: 601-582-3213 Fax: 601-545-6065

  • Forrest County Justice Court

    Address: 700 Main St, Hattiesburg MS 39401
    Phone: 601-544-3136 Fax: 601-545-6114

  • Hattiesburg Municipal Court

    Address: 701 James St, Hattiesburg MS 39401
    Phone: 601-545-4933 Fax: 601-545-2488

  • Petal Municipal Court

    Address: 127 W 8th Ave, Petal MS 39465
    Phone: 601-582-5351 Fax: 601-582-8431

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