Phelps County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Phelps County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Phelps County.
Who can help me in Phelps County?
For general information about your case the Phelps 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 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.
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.
Sentencing in Phelps County
In Phelps 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.
Required Court Appearances in Phelps County
Any required court appearances in Phelps 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.
Prosecutor in Phelps County
In Phelps County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Phelps County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Missouri. For the most part, the prosecutor in Phelps County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Where will Phelps County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Phelps County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Phelps County.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Jury Deliberations in Phelps County
In Phelps 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.
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.
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.
What happens in Phelps County at an arraignment?
In Phelps 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.
Phelps County Criminal Court Locations
Phelps County Circuit Court
Address: 200 North Main Street, Suite 201, Rolla, MO 65401
Phone: 573-458-6210 Fax: 573-458-6224
Edgar Springs Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 13, Edgar Springs, MO 65462
Newburg Municipal Court
Address: Drawer K, Newburg, MO 65550
Phone: 573-762-2315 Fax: 573-762-3704
Rolla Municipal Court
Address: 901 North Elm Street, PO Box 979, Rolla, MO 65402
Phone: 573-364-8590 Fax: 573-426-6935
St. James Municipal Court
Address: 100 South Jefferson, PO Box 426, St. James, MO 65559
Phone: 573-265-7011 Fax: 573-265-5585