Lafayette County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Lafayette County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Lafayette 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.
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.
Where will Lafayette County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Lafayette County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Lafayette County.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Lafayette 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Lafayette County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Lafayette 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.
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.
In a jury trial in Lafayette 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.
Lafayette County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Lafayette County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Lafayette 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 Lafayette 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.
Where can I get help for my Lafayette 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 Lafayette 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.
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 appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
Who is the prosecutor for Lafayette County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Lafayette County criminal cases will either be a representative of Lafayette 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.
Lafayette County Criminal Court Locations
Lafayette County Circuit Court – Judicial Circuit 15
Address: 116 South 10th Street, PO Box 10, Lexington, MO 64067
Phone: 660-259-6101 Fax: 660-259-6148
Alma Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 229, Alma, MO 64001
Bates City Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 225, Bates City, MO 64011
Phone: 816-690-3818 Fax: 816-690-6586
Concordia Municipal Court
Address: 802 South Gordon, PO Box 847, Concordia, MO 64020
Phone: 660-463-2228 Fax: 660-463-7574
Corder Municipal Court
Address: 305 North Lafayette Street, Corder, MO 64021
Higginsville Municipal Court
Address: 1922 Main Street, PO Box 110, Higginsville, MO 64037
Phone: 660-584-2106 Fax: 660-584-2953
Lake Lafayette Municipal Court
Address: 1001 Lafayette Drive, Lake Lafayette, MO 64076
Phone: 816-633-8783 Fax: 816-633-8955
Lexington Municipal Court
Address: 919 Franklin Avenue, Lexington, MO 64067
Phone: 660-259-3367 Fax: 660-259-4093
Napoleon Municipal Court
Address: 191 West 2nd Street, Napoleon, MO 64074
Odessa Municipal Court
Address: 601 West Main Street, Odessa, MO 64076
Phone: 816-633-7575 Fax: 816-633-7221
Waverly Municipal Court
Address: 111 East Kelling Avenue, PO Box 162, Waverly, MO 64096
Phone: 660-493-2551 Fax: 660-493-2982
Wellington Municipal Court
Address: 101 4th Street, PO Box 247, Wellington, MO 64097