St. Francois County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in St. Francois County. See below for more information about criminal cases in St. Francois 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.
I need help for my St. Francois 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 St. Francois 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 St. Francois 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 St. Francois County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
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.
St. Francois County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in St. Francois County will take place at the St. Francois County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the St. Francois County Criminal Court Locations.
Mandatory Appearances in St. Francois County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in St. Francois 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.
Prosecutor in St. Francois County
In St. Francois County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing St. Francois County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Missouri. For the most part, the prosecutor in St. Francois County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
What happens in St. Francois County at an arraignment?
In St. Francois 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.
St. Francois County Criminal Court Locations
St. Francois County Circuit Court
Address: 1 North Washington Street, Suite 102, Farmington, MO 63640
Bismarck Municipal Court
Address: 912 Veterans Drive, PO Box 27, Bismarck, MO 63624
Phone: 573-734-2125 Fax: 573-734-2877
Bonne Terre Municipal Court
Address: 118 North Allen Street, Bonne Terre, MO 63628
Phone: 573-358-2254 Fax: 573-358-1525
Desloge Municipal Court
Address: 300 North Lincoln, Desloge, MO 63601
Phone: 573-431-5560 Fax: 573-431-7062
Farmington Municipal Court
Address: 110 West Columbia, Farmington, MO 63640
Phone: 573-756-6787 Fax: 573-760-7102
Iron Mountain Lake Municipal Court
Address: 591 North Lakeshore Drive, Bismarck, MO 63624
Phone: 573-734-2042 Fax: 573-734-6390
Leadington Municipal Court
Address: 12 Weir Street, Leadington, MO 63601
Phone: 573-431-5637 Fax: 573-518-0590
Leadwood Municipal Court
Address: 102 East 7th Street, Leadwood, MO 63653
Phone: 573-562-7327 Fax: 573-562-2902
Park Hills Municipal Court
Address: 10 Municipal Drive, Park Hills, MO 63601
Phone: 573-431-3142 Fax: 573-431-2441