Armstrong County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Armstrong County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Armstrong County.
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.
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 Armstrong 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 Armstrong County
Any required court appearances in Armstrong 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.
In a jury trial in Armstrong County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.
Prosecutor in Armstrong County
In Armstrong County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Armstrong County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Pennsylvania. For the most part, the prosecutor in Armstrong County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
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.
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.
Arraignments in Armstrong County
During an arraignment in Armstrong 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 Armstrong 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 Armstrong County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Armstrong County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Armstrong County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
I need help for my Armstrong 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 Armstrong 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 Armstrong 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.
Armstrong County Criminal Court Locations
Armstrong County Court of Common Pleas
Address: 500 E Market St, #103, Kittanning PA 16201
Phone: 724-548-3252 Fax: 724-548-3351
Armstrong County Orphans’ Court
Address: 500 E Market St, #102, Kittanning PA 16201
Phone: 724-548-3220 Fax: 724-548-3236
Armstrong County Magisterial District Court 33-3-01
Address: 206 Fifth Ave, Suite A, PO Box 306, Ford City PA 16226
Phone: 724-763-7866 Fax: 724-763-8821
Armstrong County Magisterial District Court 33-3-02
Address: 201 N Jefferson St, Kittanning PA 16201
Phone: 724-543-2313 Fax: 724-545-9029
Armstrong County Magisterial District Court 33-3-03
Address: 241 Market St, Leechburg PA 15656
Phone: 724-842-3571 Fax: 724-845-7610
Armstrong County Magisterial District Court 33-3-04
Address: 720 Main St, PO Box 393, Rural Valley PA 16249
Phone: 724-783-6886 Fax: 724-783-2079