Cass County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Cass County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Cass County.
Where can I get help for my Cass 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 Cass 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.
Where will Cass County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Cass County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Cass County.
Arraignments in Cass County
During an arraignment in Cass 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 Cass 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 Cass County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Cass 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.
Required Court Appearances in Cass County
Any required court appearances in Cass 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 Cass County
In Cass County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Cass County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent North Dakota. For the most part, the prosecutor in Cass County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Cass County Criminal Court Locations
Cass County District Court
Address: 211 S 9th St, PO Box 2806, Fargo ND 58108
Phone: 701-451-6900 Fax: 701-451-6939
Casselton Municipal Court
Address: 702 1st St N, PO Box 548, Casselton ND 58012
Fargo Municipal Court
Address: 402 NP Ave N, PO Box 49, Fargo ND 58107
Phone: 701-241-1316 Fax: 701-241-1320
Kindred Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 158, Kindred ND 58051
Phone: 701-428-3115 Fax: 701-428-9100
Reiles Acres Municipal Court
Address: 4635 35th Ave N, Reiles Acres ND 58102
Tower City Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 55, Tower City ND 58071
Phone: 701-749-2343 Fax: 701-749-2344
West Fargo Municipal Court
Address: 800 4th Ave E, West Fargo ND 58078
Phone: 701-433-5516 Fax: 701-433-5319