Panola County Criminal Court

Panola County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Panola County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Panola County.

Who is the prosecutor for Panola County?

Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Panola County criminal cases will either be a representative of Panola County or a representative from Texas. 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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Panola 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.

Panola County Criminal Court

Panola County Criminal Court

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

I need help for my Panola 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 Panola 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 Panola 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.

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.

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.

Mandatory Appearances in Panola County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Panola 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.

Sentencing in Panola County

In Panola 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.

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.

Panola County Criminal Court hearings

Criminal hearings in Panola County will take place at the Panola County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Panola County Criminal Court Locations.

Plea Agreements

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 Panola 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.

Panola County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Panola County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Panola 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 Panola 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.

Panola County Criminal Court Locations

  • Panola County 123rd District Court

    Address: 110 S Sycamore St, #227, Carthage TX 75633
    Phone: 903-693-0306 Fax: 903-693-6914

  • Panola County Constitutional Court

    Address: 110 S Sycamore St, #201, Carthage TX 75633
    Phone: 903-693-0302 Fax: 903-693-0328

  • Panola County Court at Law

    Address: 110 S Sycamore St, #201, Carthage TX 75633
    Phone: 903-693-0302 Fax: 903-693-0328

  • Panola County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1

    Address: 110 S Sycamore St, #105, Carthage TX 75633
    Phone: 903-693-0375 Fax: 903-694-2674

  • Panola County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2

    Address: 110 S Sycamore St, #103, Carthage TX 75633
    Phone: 903-693-0377 Fax: 903-693-4708

  • Panola County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3

    Address: 110 S Sycamore St, #103, Carthage TX 75633
    Phone: 903-693-0377 Fax: 903-693-4708

  • Panola County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4

    Address: 110 S Sycamore St, #105, Carthage TX 75633
    Phone: 903-693-0375 Fax: 903-694-2674

  • Carthage Municipal Court

    Address: 321 W Panola, PO Box 400, Carthage TX 75633
    Phone: 903-693-5032

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