Grant County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Grant County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Grant County.
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 Grant 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.
Grant County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Grant County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Grant 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 Grant 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Grant County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Grant 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.
Who is the prosecutor for Grant County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Grant County criminal cases will either be a representative of Grant County or a representative from New Mexico. 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.
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.
I need help for my Grant 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 Grant 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 Grant 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.
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.
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.
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.
Grant County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Grant County will take place at the Grant County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Grant County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Grant County Criminal Court Locations
Grant County 6th Judicial District Court
Address: 201 North Cooper, PO Box 2339, Silver City, NM 88062
Phone: 575-538-3250 Fax: 575-538-5439
Grant County Magistrate Court
Address: 104 Hurley Avenue, Bayard, NM 88023
Phone: 575-537-3042 Fax: 575-537-7365
Grant County Magistrate Court
Address: 1620 East Pine, Silver City, NM 88061
Phone: 575-538-3811 Fax: 575-538-8079
Bayard Municipal Court
Address: 801 Central Avenue, PO Box 788, Bayard NM 88023
Phone: 575-537-5438 Fax: 575-537-2511
Hurley Municipal Court
Address: 101 Cortez, PO Box 65, Hurley, NM 88043
Phone: 575-537-3220 Fax: 575-537-2797
Santa Clara Municipal Court
Address: 105 North Bayard, PO Box 316, Santa Clara, NM 88026
Phone: 575-537-6417 Fax: 575-537-2452
Silver City Municipal Court
Address: 215 North Bullard Street, Silver City, NM 88061
Phone: 575-388-4504 Fax: 575-388-0465