Northumberland County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Northumberland County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Northumberland County.
Mandatory Appearances in Northumberland County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Northumberland 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.
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.
Who can help me in Northumberland County?
For general information about your case the Northumberland County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
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.
Jury Deliberations in Northumberland County
In Northumberland 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.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Where will Northumberland County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Northumberland County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Northumberland 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.
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.
Arraignments in Northumberland County
During an arraignment in Northumberland 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 Northumberland 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 Northumberland County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Prosecutor in Northumberland County
In Northumberland County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Northumberland County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Pennsylvania. For the most part, the prosecutor in Northumberland County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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 Northumberland County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Northumberland County Criminal Court Locations
Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas
Address: 201 Market St, Sunbury PA 17801
Phone: 570-988-4167 Fax: 570-988-4497
Northumberland County Magisterial District Court 08-2-01
Address: 150 S Market St, Mt. Carmel PA 17851
Phone: 570-339-2140 Fax: 570-339-4433
Northumberland County Magisterial District Court 08-3-02
Address: 1 Broadway St, 1st Floor, Milton PA 17847
Phone: 570-742-7446 Fax: 570-742-2144
Northumberland County Magisterial District Court 08-3-03
Address: 2 E Arch St, Shamokin PA 17872
Phone: 570-644-0736 Fax: 570-644-3958
Northumberland County Magisterial District Court 08-3-04
Address: 225 Market St, Sunbury PA 17801
Phone: 570-988-4485 Fax: 570-988-3954