Rio Arriba County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Rio Arriba County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Rio Arriba County.
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.
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.
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.
Can I appeal a guilty verdict?
If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.
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.
Rio Arriba County Required Court Appearances
In Rio Arriba 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.
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.
Rio Arriba County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Rio Arriba County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Jury Deliberations in Rio Arriba County
In Rio Arriba 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.
Arraignments in Rio Arriba County
During an arraignment in Rio Arriba 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 Rio Arriba 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 Rio Arriba County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Prosecutor in Rio Arriba County
In Rio Arriba County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Rio Arriba County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent New Mexico. For the most part, the prosecutor in Rio Arriba County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Where can I get help for my Rio Arriba County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Rio Arriba County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
Rio Arriba County Criminal Court Locations
Rio Arriba County 1st Judicial District Court
Address: 7 Main Street, PO Box 40, Tierra Amarilla, NM 87575
Phone: 575-588-0058 Fax: 575-588-9898
Chama Municipal Court
Address: 299 4th Street, PO Box 794, Chama, NM 87520
Phone: 575-756-1019 Fax: 575-756-1044
Espanola Municipal Court
Address: 409 North Paseo de Onate, Espanola, NM 87532
Phone: 575-747-6034 Fax: 575-747-6049