Wood County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Wood County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Wood County.
Who is the prosecutor for Wood County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Wood County criminal cases will either be a representative of Wood 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.
Mandatory Appearances in Wood County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Wood 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.
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 Wood County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
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.
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.
Who can help me in Wood County?
For general information about your case the Wood 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.
Sentencing in Wood County
In Wood 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.
Where will Wood County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Wood County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Wood County.
Wood County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Wood County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Wood 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 Wood 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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Wood County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.
In a jury trial in Wood 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.
Appealing a Criminal Conviciton
A defendant may appeal a criminal conviction to an appellate court. In an appeal, the actual trial is not redone, but the appellate court hears arguments that the criminal case was not handled in a legal manner at the original criminal court. The appellate court can either uphold the conviction, or determine that errors were made and may request a retrial, a resentencing of the defendant or that the charges be dismissed.
Wood County Criminal Court Locations
Wood County 402nd District Court
Address: 100 S Main St, PO Box 1707, Quitman TX 75783
Phone: 903-763-2361 Fax: 903-763-1511
Wood County Constitutional Court
Address: 100 S Main St, PO Box 1796, Quitman TX 75783
Phone: 903-763-2711 Fax: 903-763-5641
Wood County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1
Address: 402 S Stephens, PO Box 172, Quitman TX 75783
Phone: 903-763-2713 Fax: 903-763-4246
Wood County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2
Address: 716 Greenville Ave, PO Box 325, Mineola TX 75773
Phone: 903-569-3802 Fax: 903-569-6270
Wood County Justice of the Peace Precinct 3
Address: 117 E Blackburn, PO Box 470, Hawkins TX 75765
Phone: 903-769-3517 Fax: 903-769-9631
Wood County Justice of the Peace Precinct 4
Address: 1001 E Coke Rd, PO Box 134, Winnsboro TX 75494
Phone: 903-342-3079 Fax: 903-342-9903
Hawkins Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 329, Hawkins TX 75765
Mineola Municipal Court
Address: 300 Greenville Ave, PO Box 179, Mineola TX 75773
Phone: 903-569-6603 Fax: 903-569-6551
Quitman Municipal Court
Address: 410 E Goode, PO Box 1855, Quitman TX 75783
Winnsboro Municipal Court
Address: 501 S Main St, Winnsboro TX 75494
Phone: 903-342-6033 Fax: 903-342-2042