Lawrence County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Lawrence County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Lawrence County.
Required Court Appearances in Lawrence County
Any required court appearances in Lawrence 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.
Lawrence County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Lawrence County will take place at the Lawrence County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Lawrence County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
What happens in Lawrence County at an arraignment?
In Lawrence 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.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Jury Deliberations in Lawrence County
In Lawrence County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.
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.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Lawrence County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
Prosecutor in Lawrence County
In Lawrence County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Lawrence County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Pennsylvania. For the most part, the prosecutor in Lawrence County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Sentencing in Lawrence County
In Lawrence County if the defendant is found guilty (by trial or plea), the defendant will be sentenced. This sometimes occurrs immediately after being found guilty, but can also take place at a later date. In most instances, a judge will impose the sentence that is requested by the prosecution, but they also have the descretion to impose a different sentence.
Where can I get help for my Lawrence 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 Lawrence 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.
Lawrence County Criminal Court Locations
Lawrence County Court of Common Pleas
Address: 430 Court Street, New Castle PA 16101
Lawrence County Magisterial District Court 53-1-01
Address: 430 Court St, New Castle PA 16101
Phone: 724-652-8555 Fax: 724-652-8576
Lawrence County Magisterial District Court 53-3-01
Address: 607 Lawrence Ave, Ellwood City PA 16117
Phone: 724-752-1185 Fax: 724-752-2155
Lawrence County Magisterial District Court 53-3-02
Address: 4834 State Route 18, New Castle PA 16102
Phone: 724-667-8010 Fax: 724-667-0377
Lawrence County Magisterial District Court 53-3-03
Address: 2797 New Butler Rd, New Castle PA 16101
Phone: 724-924-9870 Fax: 724-924-1969
Lawrence County Magisterial District Court 53-3-04
Address: 3455 Wilmington Rd, New Castle PA 16105
Phone: 724-652-9615 Fax: 724-652-3762