Luzerne County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Luzerne County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Luzerne County.
Where will Luzerne County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Luzerne County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Luzerne County.
Mandatory Appearances in Luzerne County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Luzerne 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.
I need help for my Luzerne 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 Luzerne 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 Luzerne 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.
Who is the prosecutor for Luzerne County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Luzerne County criminal cases will either be a representative of Luzerne County or a representative from Pennsylvania. After reviewing evidence it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to file charges or drop a case. Most prosecutors have the ability to negotiate plea bargains, and determine how the case will be prosecuted.
In a jury trial in Luzerne 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.
Sentencing in Luzerne County
In Luzerne 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.
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 Luzerne County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
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.
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.
What is a Plea Agreement?
A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.
Arraignments in Luzerne County
During an arraignment in Luzerne 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 Luzerne 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 Luzerne County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Burden of Proof Requirement
In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Luzerne County Criminal Court Locations
Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas
Address: 200 N River St, Wilkes-Barre PA 18711
Phone: 570-706-8412 Fax: 570-970-4580
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-1-01
Address: 100 Hazle St, Wilkes-Barre PA 18792
Phone: 570-825-7373 Fax: 570-970-2568
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-1-02
Address: 280 N Sherman St, Wilkes-Barre PA 18702
Phone: 570-825-8488 Fax: 570-970-2564
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-1-03
Address: 615 E Broad St, Hazleton PA 18201
Phone: 570-455-9467 Fax: 570-501-8981
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-1-04
Address: 35 Broad St, Pittston PA 18640
Phone: 570-655-0552 Fax: 570-602-8297
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-1-05
Address: 500 Wyoming Ave, Kingston PA 18704
Phone: 570-287-2800 Fax: 570-714-7568
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-1-06
Address: 675 Main St, Swoyersville PA 18704
Phone: 570-287-2341 Fax: 570-714-7564
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-2-01
Address: 555 Exeter Ave, West Pittston PA 18643
Phone: 570-655-0177 Fax: 570-602-8296
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-2-03
Address: 1460 Sans Souci Pkwy, Hanover Township PA 18706
Phone: 570-825-8890 Fax: 570-970-8893
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-01
Address: 33 W Union St, Shickshinny PA 18655
Phone: 570-542-4349 Fax: 570-542-5674
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-02
Address: 15 E Ridge St, Nanticoke PA 18634
Phone: 570-735-7648 Fax: 570-740-2072
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-03
Address: 5 S Main St, #6, Sugarloaf PA 18249
Phone: 570-788-1191 Fax: 570-788-7213
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-04
Address: 789 Airport Rd, Hazle Township PA 18202
Phone: 570-455-9191 Fax: 570-501-8980
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-05
Address: 801 Centre St, PO Box F, Freeland PA 18224
Phone: 570-636-1500 Fax: 570-636-2665
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-06
Address: 321 S Mountain Blvd, Mountain Top PA 18707
Phone: 570-474-6844 Fax: 570-474-6822
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-07
Address: 240 Johnson St, Wilkes-Barre Township PA 18702
Phone: 570-825-8671 Fax: 570-970-2546
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-08
Address: 62 Maffett St, Plains PA 18705
Phone: 570-825-8984 Fax: 570-970-2545
Luzerne County Magisterial District Court 11-3-09
Address: 11 Carverton Rd, Trucksville PA 18708
Phone: 570-696-4477 Fax: 570-696-5467