McDonald County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in McDonald County. See below for more information about criminal cases in McDonald County.
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.
Who can help me in McDonald County?
For general information about your case the McDonald 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.
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 McDonald County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
McDonald County Required Court Appearances
In McDonald 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.
Arraignments in McDonald County
During an arraignment in McDonald 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 McDonald 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 McDonald County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
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 McDonald 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.
McDonald County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the McDonald County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Prosecutor in McDonald County
In McDonald County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing McDonald County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Missouri. For the most part, the prosecutor in McDonald County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the 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 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.
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.
Jury Deliberations in McDonald County
In McDonald 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.
McDonald County Criminal Court Locations
McDonald County Circuit Court
Address: PO Box 157, Pineville, MO 64856
Phone: 417-223-7515 Fax: 417-223-4125
Anderson Municipal Court
Address: 103 West Beaver Street, PO Box 397, Anderson, MO 64831
Phone: 417-845-6463 Fax: 417-845-6442
Goodman Municipal Court
Address: 203 West Barlow Street, Goodman, MO 64843
Phone: 417-364-7316 Fax: 417-364-7314
Lanagan Municipal Court
Address: 205 Forest Street, PO Box 155, Lanagan, MO 64847
Phone: 417-436-2226 Fax: 417-436-4774
Noel Municipal Court
Address: 201 Railroad Street, PO Box 346, Noel, MO 64854
Pineville Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 592, Pineville, MO 64856
Phone: 417-223-5034 Fax: 417-223-4366
Southwest City Municipal Court
Address: 302 South Main Street, PO Box 313, Southwest City, MO 64863
Phone: 417-762-3767 Fax: 417-762-3038