Cooper County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Cooper County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Cooper County.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Cooper 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.
Who can help me in Cooper County?
For general information about your case the Cooper 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.
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.
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.
Cooper County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Cooper County will take place at the Cooper County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Cooper County Criminal Court Locations.
Arraignments in Cooper County
During an arraignment in Cooper County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Cooper County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Cooper County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Required Court Appearances in Cooper County
Any required court appearances in Cooper 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.
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 Cooper County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Jury Deliberations in Cooper County
In Cooper 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.
Who is the prosecutor for Cooper County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Cooper County criminal cases will either be a representative of Cooper County or a representative from Missouri. 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.
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.
Cooper County Criminal Court Locations
Cooper County Circuit Court
Address: 200 Main Street, Room 31, Boonville, MO 65233
Phone: 660-882-2232 Fax: 660-882-2043
Blackwater Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 104, Blackwater, MO 65322
Boonville Municipal Court
Address: 525 East Spring Street, Boonville, MO 65233
Otterville Municipal Court
Address: 204 North Cherry Street, PO Box 58, Otterville, MO 65348
Pilot Grove Municipal Court
Address: 213 College Street, PO Box 122, Pilot Grove, MO 65276
Prairie Home Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 63, Prairie Home, MO 65068
Woolridge Municipal Court
Address: 200 Main Street, Boonville, MO 65233