Bradford County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Bradford County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Bradford County.
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.
Where can I get help for my Bradford 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 Bradford 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.
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 Bradford 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.
In a jury trial in Bradford 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.
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.
Bradford County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Bradford County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Bradford County. The Bradford 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.
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.
Where will Bradford County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Bradford County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Bradford County.
Bradford County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Bradford County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Bradford 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 Bradford 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.
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.
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.
Bradford County Required Court Appearances
In Bradford County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.
Bradford County Criminal Court Locations
Bradford County Court of Common Pleas
Address: 301 Main St, Towanda PA 18848
Phone: 570-265-1705 Fax: 570-265-1788
Bradford County Orphans’ Court
Address: 301 Main St, Towanda PA 18848
Phone: 570-265-1702 Fax: 570-265-1721
Bradford County Magisterial District Court 42-3-01
Address: 430 Canton St, #2, Troy PA 16947
Phone: 570-297-3880 Fax: 570-297-5071
Bradford County Magisterial District Court 42-3-02
Address: 75 Herrick Ave, Sayre PA 18840
Phone: 570-888-6324 Fax: 570-888-5853
Bradford County Magisterial District Court 42-3-03
Address: 200 Main St, Towanda PA 18848
Phone: 570-265-2150 Fax: 570-268-0874
Bradford County Magisterial District Court 42-3-04
Address: 1959 Golden Mile Rd, RR 2 Box 0, Wysox PA 18854
Phone: 570-265-9393 Fax: 570-265-2041