Washington County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Washington County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Washington County.
What happens in Washington County at an arraignment?
In Washington 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.
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.
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.
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.
Washington County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Washington County will take place at the Washington County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Washington County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
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.
Where can I get help for my Washington 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 Washington 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.
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.
Washington County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Washington County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Washington County. The Washington County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
Mandatory Appearances in Washington County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Washington 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.
Right to an attorney
The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Washington County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Washington County Criminal Court Locations
Washington County Court of Common Pleas – General Division
Address: Phone: 740-373-6623, x385 Fax: 740-374-3758
Washington County Court of Common Pleas – Juvenile Division
Address: Phone: 740-373-6623, x247 Fax: 740-376-7425
Washington County Court of Common Pleas – Probate Division
Address: Phone: 740-373-6623, x254 Fax: 740-376-7425
Marietta Municipal Court
Address: 259 Butler Street, Marietta OH 45750
Phone: 740-373-4474 Fax: 740-373-2547
Belpre Mayor’s Court
Address: 715 Park Dr, PO Box 160, Belpre OH 45714
Phone: 740-423-7631 Fax: 740-423-8085
Beverly Mayor’s Court
Address: 919 Mitchell Ave, Beverly OH 45715
Matamoras Mayor’s Court
Address: PO Box 536, Matamoras OH 45767
Phone: 740-865-2124 Fax: 740-865-2189