Lawrence County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Lawrence County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Lawrence County.
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.
Lawrence County Required Court Appearances
In Lawrence 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.
Lawrence County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Lawrence County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Lawrence 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 Lawrence 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.
Lawrence County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Lawrence County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Lawrence County. The Lawrence 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.
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.
Where can I get help for my Lawrence 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 Lawrence 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.
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 Deliberations in Lawrence County
In Lawrence 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.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Lawrence 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.
Lawrence County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Lawrence County will take place at the Lawrence County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Lawrence County Criminal Court Locations.
Sentencing in Lawrence County
In Lawrence 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.
Lawrence County Criminal Court Locations
Lawrence County Circuit Court
Address: 517 E Broad St, PO Box 1249, Monticello MS 39654
Phone: 601-587-4791 Fax: 601-587-4405
Lawrence County Chancery Court
Address: 517 E Broad St, PO Box 821, Monticello MS 39654
Phone: 601-587-7162 Fax: 601-587-0750
Lawrence County Youth Court
Address: 517 E Broad St, PO Box 821, Monticello MS 39654
Phone: 601-587-7162 Fax: 601-587-0767
Lawrence County Justice Court
Address: 435 Brinson St, PO Box 903, Monticello MS 39654
Phone: 601-587-4854 Fax: 601-587-0755
Monticello Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 822, Monticello MS 39654
Phone: 601-587-7732 Fax: 601-587-7731
New Hebron Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 173, New Hebron MS 39140
Phone: 601-694-2115 Fax: 601-694-2114