Westmoreland County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Westmoreland County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Westmoreland County.
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.
Who is the prosecutor for Westmoreland County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Westmoreland County criminal cases will either be a representative of Westmoreland 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.
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 Westmoreland 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.
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 Westmoreland County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Westmoreland County Required Court Appearances
In Westmoreland 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.
Where will Westmoreland County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Westmoreland County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Westmoreland 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.
I need help for my Westmoreland 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 Westmoreland 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 Westmoreland 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.
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.
In a jury trial in Westmoreland 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.
What happens in Westmoreland County at an arraignment?
In Westmoreland 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.
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.
Westmoreland County Criminal Court Locations
Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas – Clerk of Courts (Criminal)
Address: 2 N Main St, #203, Greensburg PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3734 Fax: 724-850-3979
Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas – Prothonotary (Civil)
Address: 2 N Main St, #501, Greensburg PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3502 Fax: 724-830-3517
Westmoreland County Orphans’ Court
Address: 2 N Main St, #301, Greensburg PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3177 Fax: 724-830-3976
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-1-01
Address: 101 Jayhawk Dr, Jeannette PA 15644
Phone: 724-527-3541 Fax: 724-527-3547
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-1-03
Address: 303 Riverview Dr, Monessen PA 15062
Phone: 724-684-6444 Fax: 724-684-7028
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-1-04
Address: 46 Town Center Dr, Leechburg PA 15656
Phone: 724-236-0274 Fax: 724-236-0278
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-1-05
Address: 1100 Fourth Ave, New Kensington PA 15068
Phone: 724-335-5050 Fax: 724-335-5886
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-2-01
Address: 327 Armbrust Rd, Youngwood PA 15697
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-2-03
Address: 1012 Station St, PO Box 543, Harrison City PA 15636
Phone: 724-744-3031 Fax: 724-744-7790
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-2-06
Address: 112 Walnut Ln, #1, West Newton PA 15089
Phone: 724-872-8910 Fax: 724-872-8948
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-2-08
Address: 5954 Route 981, #1, Latrobe PA 15650
Phone: 724-539-7135 Fax: 724-539-7136
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-2-09
Address: 210 Robbins Station Rd, North Huntingdon PA 15642
Phone: 724-864-0018 Fax: 724-864-9277
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-2-10
Address: 40 N Pennsylvania Ave, Greensburg PA 15601
Phone: 724-830-3030 Fax: 724-830-1556
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-3-01
Address: 174 S Greengate Rd, Greensburg PA 15601
Phone: 724-836-1010 Fax: 724-836-4820
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-3-02
Address: 5919 Washington Ave, Export PA 15632
Phone: 724-327-8322 Fax: 724-327-1524
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-3-05
Address: 4066 Route 66, Apollo PA 15613
Phone: 724-727-3423 Fax: 724-727-3607
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-3-08
Address: 5092 Route 982, Bradenville, PA 15620
Phone: 724-539-7200 Fax: 724-539-7217
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-3-09
Address: 206 W Main St, Ligonier PA 15658
Phone: 724-238-9086 Fax: 724-238-9176
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-3-10
Address: 10 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Scottdale PA 15683
Phone: 724-887-8800 Fax: 724-887-8831
Westmoreland County Magisterial District Court 10-3-11
Address: 2320 Mt. Pleasant Rd, Mt. Pleasant PA 15666
Phone: 724-423-7150 Fax: 724-423-1922