Hancock County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Hancock County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Hancock County.
Who is the prosecutor for Hancock County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Hancock County criminal cases will either be a representative of Hancock County or a representative from Mississippi. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
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.
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.
Where can I get help for my Hancock 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 Hancock 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.
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.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Hancock County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Hancock County will take place at the Hancock County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Hancock County Criminal Court Locations.
In a jury trial in Hancock 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.
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.
What happens in Hancock County at an arraignment?
In Hancock 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.
Hancock County Required Court Appearances
In Hancock 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.
Hancock County Criminal Court Locations
Hancock County Circuit Court
Address: 152 Main St, Ste B, Bay St. Louis MS 39520
Phone: 228-467-5265 Fax: 228-467-2779
Hancock County Chancery Court
Address: 152 Main St, Ste A, Bay St. Louis MS 39520
Phone: 228-467-5406 Fax: 228-467-3159
Hancock County Youth Court
Address: 126 Court St, Bay St. Louis MS 39520
Phone: 228-467-7945 Fax: 228-466-4707
Hancock County Justice Court
Address: 8450 Hwy 90, Bay St. Louis MS 39520
Phone: 228-467-5573 Fax: 228-255-5851
Bay St. Louis Municipal Court
Address: 688 Hwy 90, PO Box 2550, Bay St. Louis MS 39521
Phone: 228-467-9068 Fax: 228-466-5495
Diamondhead Municipal Court
Address: 5000 Diamondhead Cir, Diamondhead MS 39525
Phone: 228-222-4626 Fax: 228-222-4390
Waveland Municipal Court
Address: 335 Coleman Ave, Waveland MS 39576
Phone: 228-467-3669 Fax: 228-467-3686