Pontotoc County Criminal Court

Pontotoc County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Pontotoc County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Pontotoc County.

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 Pontotoc County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

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.

Pontotoc County Criminal Court

Pontotoc County Criminal Court

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.

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 happens in Pontotoc County at an arraignment?

In Pontotoc 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.

Mandatory Appearances in Pontotoc County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Pontotoc 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.

Jury Deliberations in Pontotoc County

In Pontotoc 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.

Right to Jury Trial

For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.

Defendant Sentencing

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.

Prosecutor in Pontotoc County

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

Who can help me in Pontotoc County?

For general information about your case the Pontotoc 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.

Pontotoc County Criminal Court hearings

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

Pontotoc County Criminal Court Locations

  • Pontotoc County Circuit Court

    Address: 11 E Washington St, PO Box 428, Pontotoc MS 38863
    Phone: 662-489-3908 Fax: 662-489-2318

  • Pontotoc County Chancery Court

    Address: 34 S Liberty St, PO Box 209, Pontotoc MS 38863
    Phone: 662-489-3900 Fax: 662-489-3940

  • Pontotoc County Youth Court

    Address: 34 S Liberty St, PO Box 209, Pontotoc MS 38863
    Phone: 662-489-3900 Fax: 662-489-3940

  • Pontotoc County Justice Court

    Address: 29 E Washington St, Pontotoc MS 38863
    Phone: 662-489-3921 Fax: 662-488-2986

  • Algoma Municipal Court

    Address: PO Box 110, Algoma MS 38820
    Phone: 662-489-3200

  • Ecru Municipal Court

    Address: PO Box 526, Ecru MS 38841
    Phone: 662-489-3881 Fax: 662-489-0196

  • Pontotoc Municipal Court

    Address: 225 W Reynolds St, Pontotoc MS 38863
    Phone: 662-489-7804 Fax: 662-489-0103

  • Sherman Municipal Court

    Address: 26 W Lamar St, PO Box 397, Sherman MS 38869
    Phone: 662-840-9185 Fax: 662-842-2517

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