Van Zandt County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Van Zandt County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Van Zandt County.
Sentencing in Van Zandt County
In Van Zandt 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.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Van Zandt County Required Court Appearances
In Van Zandt 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.
Prosecutor in Van Zandt County
In Van Zandt County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Van Zandt County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Texas. For the most part, the prosecutor in Van Zandt County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
Van Zandt County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Van Zandt County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
In a jury trial in Van Zandt 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.
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.
Arraignments in Van Zandt County
During an arraignment in Van Zandt 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 Van Zandt 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 Van Zandt County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
Who can help me in Van Zandt County?
For general information about your case the Van Zandt 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.
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.
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 Van Zandt 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.
Van Zandt County Criminal Court Locations
Van Zandt County 294th District Court
Address: Phone: 903-567-7555, x4 Fax: 903-567-1283
Van Zandt County Constitutional Court
Address: Phone: 903-567-7555, x2 Fax: 903-567-6722
Van Zandt County Court at Law
Address: Phone: 903-567-7555, x2 Fax: 903-567-6722
Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1
Address: 212 W Garland, PO Box 189, Grand Saline TX 75140
Phone: 903-962-3471 Fax: 903-962-4676
Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2
Address: 250 E Grove St, PO Box 9, Canton TX 75103
Phone: 903-567-6569 Fax: 903-567-4699
Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3
Address: 145 N Fifth St, PO Box 648, Wills Point TX 75169
Phone: 903-873-3592 Fax: 903-873-3662
Van Zandt County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4
Address: 1540 FM 279, PO Box 499, Ben Wheeler TX 75754
Phone: 903-833-5705 Fax: 903-833-5829
Canton Municipal Court
Address: 24980 Hwy 64 E, Canton TX 75103
Phone: 903-567-1500 Fax: 903-567-1450
Edgewood Municipal Court
Address: 120 NE Front, PO Box 377, Edgewood TX 75117
Phone: 903-896-4470 Fax: 903-896-7033
Grand Saline Municipal Court
Address: 132 E Frank St, Grand Saline TX 75140
Van Municipal Court
Address: 189 S Maple, PO Box 487, Van TX 75790
Wills Point Municipal Court
Address: 307 N 4th St, PO Box 546, Wills Point TX 75169
Phone: 903-873-4530 Fax: 903-873-8504