Butler County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Butler County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Butler County.
Jury by Trial Right
The US Constitution (Article 3 along with the 6th Amendment) ensures an accused defendant the right to a jury trial. This applies to crimes that have a $500 fine or a potential sentence of six months in jail (aka Serious Crimes). This right to trial by jury can also be waived by a defendant.
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.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in Butler County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Butler 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.
Butler County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Butler County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Appealing a guilty verdict
A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all 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 Butler 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 Butler 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 Butler County
In Butler County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Butler County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Pennsylvania. For the most part, the prosecutor in Butler County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
I need help for my Butler 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 Butler 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 Butler 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.
Butler County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Butler County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Butler 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 Butler 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.
Butler County Criminal Court Locations
Butler County Court of Common Pleas – Clerk of Courts (Criminal)
Address: 124 W Diamond St, PO Box 1208, Butler, PA 16003
Phone: 724-284-5233 Fax: 724-284-5244
Butler County Court of Common Pleas – Prothonotary (Civil)
Address: 300 S Main St, PO Box 1208, Butler PA 16003
Phone: 724-284-5214 Fax: 724-284-0011
Butler County Orphans’ Court
Address: 124 W Diamond St, PO Box 1208, Butler PA 16003
Phone: 724-284-1409 Fax: 724-284-5278
Butler County Magisterial District Court 50-1-01
Address: 121 Sunnyview Circle, #101, Butler PA 16001
Phone: 724-284-5370 Fax: 724-284-1306
Butler County Magisterial District Court 50-3-01
Address: 520 Kelly Blvd, Slippery Rock PA 16057
Phone: 724-794-6221 Fax: 724-794-1807
Butler County Magisterial District Court 50-3-02
Address: 112 N Main St, Chicora PA 16025
Phone: 724-445-3366 Fax: 724-445-7871
Butler County Magisterial District Court 50-3-03
Address: 333 W Main St, #103, PO Box 94, Saxonburg PA 16056
Phone: 724-352-9465 Fax: 724-352-4399
Butler County Magisterial District Court 50-3-04
Address: 213 Executive Dr, #140, Cranberry Township PA 16066
Phone: 724-772-1717 Fax: 724-772-3217
Butler County Magisterial District Court 50-3-05
Address: 227 W Cunningham St, PO Box 1208, Butler PA 16003
Phone: 724-431-4854 Fax: 724-431-4882
Butler County Magisterial District Court 50-3-06
Address: 202 E Main St, Evans City PA 16033
Phone: 724-538-3960 Fax: 724-538-4238