Christian County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Christian County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Christian County.
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.
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 Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
A Plea Agreement, sometimes known as a Plea Bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty or no contest often in exchange for a lesser charge or lighter recommended sentence. A large majority of criminal cases end in a plea agreement. In Christian County you can inform your attorney to negotiate with the prosecution to attempt to come to a plea agreement, but this is dependent upon the charge severity and also the prosecutors willingness to accept a plea deal.
Sentencing in Christian County
In Christian 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.
Prosecutor in Christian County
In Christian County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Christian County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Missouri. For the most part, the prosecutor in Christian County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
I need help for my Christian County criminal case
The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Christian County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Christian County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.
What happens in Christian County at an arraignment?
In Christian 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.
Christian County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Christian County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Christian County Required Court Appearances
In Christian 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.
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.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.
Christian County Criminal Court Locations
Christian County Circuit Court
Address: 110 West Elm, Room 202, Ozark, MO 65721
Phone: 417-582-5120 Fax: 417-581-0391
Billings Municipal Court
Address: 251 NE Highway 60, PO Box 207, Billings, MO 65610
Phone: 417-744-2581 Fax: 417-744-4560
Clever Municipal Court
Address: 304 South Clark Avenue, PO Box 52, Clever, MO 65631
Phone: 417-743-2544 Fax: 417-743-0025
Highlandville Municipal Court
Address: 216 Kentling Avenue, PO Box 157, Highlandville, MO 75669
Phone: 417-443-2326 Fax: 417-443-6096
Nixa Municipal Court
Address: 715 West Mt. Vernon, PO Box 395, Nixa, MO 65714
Phone: 417-725-7130 Fax: 417-724-5725
Ozark Municipal Court
Address: 102 West Brick Street, Ozark, MO 65721
Phone: 417-582-5883 Fax: 417-581-0695
Sparta Municipal Court
Address: 131 North Avenue, PO Box 246, Sparta, MO 65753
Phone: 417-634-3992 Fax: 417-634-5785