Clatsop County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Clatsop County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Clatsop County.
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.
Clatsop County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Clatsop County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Clatsop 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 Clatsop 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.
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.
Prosecutor in Clatsop County
In Clatsop County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Clatsop County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Oregon. For the most part, the prosecutor in Clatsop County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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 Clatsop County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Mandatory Appearances in Clatsop County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Clatsop 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.
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.
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 Clatsop 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.
Clatsop County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Clatsop County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
I need help for my Clatsop 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 Clatsop 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 Clatsop 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
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
Clatsop County Criminal Court Locations
Clatsop County Circuit Court
Address: 749 Commercial Street, PO Box 835, Astoria, OR 97103
Astoria Municipal Court
Address: 1095 Duane Street, Astoria, OR 97103
Phone: 503-325-3939 Fax: 503-338-6630
Cannon Beach Municipal Court
Address: 163 East Gower Street, PO Box 368, Cannon Beach, OR 97110
Phone: 503-436-2046 Fax: 800-516-7821
Gearhart Municipal Court
Address: 698 Pacific Way, PO Box 2510, Gearhart, OR 97138
Seaside Municipal Court
Address: 989 Broadway, Seaside, OR 97138
Phone: 503-738-5511 Fax: 503-738-5514