Mercer County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Mercer County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Mercer County.
Mercer County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Mercer County will take place at the Mercer County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Mercer County Criminal Court Locations.
Sentencing in Mercer County
In Mercer County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
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.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
I need help for my Mercer 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 Mercer 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 Mercer 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.
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.
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 Mercer 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.
Prosecutor in Mercer County
In Mercer County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Mercer County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent North Dakota. For the most part, the prosecutor in Mercer County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
What happens in Mercer County at an arraignment?
In Mercer 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Mercer County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Mercer 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 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.
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.
Mercer County Criminal Court Locations
Mercer County District Court
Address: 1021 Arthur St, PO Box 39, Stanton ND 58571
Phone: 701-745-3262 Fax: 701-745-3710
Beulah Municipal Court
Address: 120 Central Ave, PO Box 1209, Beulah ND 58523
Phone: 701-873-5252 Fax: 701-873-7766
Golden Valley Municipal Court
Address: 1011 Deapolis Dr, Hazen ND 58545
Hazen Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 717, Hazen ND 58545
Phone: 701-748-2550 Fax: 701-748-2559
Pick City Municipal Court
Address: 18 1st Lane SE, Pick City ND 58545
Phone: 701-938-4311 Fax: 701-938-4313
Stanton Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 253, Stanton ND 58571