Stoddard County Criminal Court

Stoddard County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Stoddard County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Stoddard County.

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.

Arraignments in Stoddard County

During an arraignment in Stoddard 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 Stoddard 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 Stoddard County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

Stoddard County Criminal Court

Stoddard County Criminal Court

Who can help me in Stoddard County?

For general information about your case the Stoddard 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.

Plea Agreements

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 Stoddard 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.

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.

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.

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.

Who is the prosecutor for Stoddard County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Stoddard County criminal cases will either be a representative of Stoddard 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.

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.

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.

Mandatory Appearances in Stoddard County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Stoddard 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.

Stoddard County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Stoddard County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Stoddard County Criminal Court Locations

  • Stoddard County Circuit Court

    Address: 403 South Prairie, PO Box 30, Bloomfield, MO 63825
    Phone: 573-568-4640 Fax: 573-568-2271

  • Advance Municipal Court

    Address: 308 West Gabriel Street, PO Box 348, Advance, MO 63730
    Phone: 573-722-3156 Fax: 573-722-5487

  • Bell City Municipal Court

    Address: 25246 Walnut Street, Bell City, MO 63735
    Phone: 573-733-4425

  • Bernie Municipal Court

    Address: 206 West Crumb, PO Box 605, Bernie, MO 63822
    Phone: 573-276-5565 Fax: 573-276-5570

  • Bloomfield Municipal Court

    Address: 202 Salem, PO Box 350, Bloomfield, MO 63825
    Phone: 573-568-3576 Fax; 573-568-2916

  • Dexter Municipal Court

    Address: 305 Cooper, Dexter, MO 63841
    Phone: 573-624-4174 Fax: 573-614-1052

  • Dudley Municipal Court

    Address: 12177 Center Street, Dudley, MO 63936
    Phone: 573-624-3821

  • Essex Municipal Court

    Address: PO Box 357, Essex, MO 63846
    Phone: 573-283-5990

  • Puxico Municipal Court

    Address: 281 East Owen Avenue, PO Box 441, Puxico, MO 63960
    Phone: 573-222-3162 Fax: 573-222-6390

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