Cumberland County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Cumberland County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Cumberland County.
Prosecutor in Cumberland County
In Cumberland County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Cumberland County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Virginia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Cumberland County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Required Court Appearances in Cumberland County
Any required court appearances in Cumberland County Criminal Court must be attended by the defendant. Failure to appear in court at your required date and time may result in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
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 Cumberland County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
What is Jury Deliberation?
After both the prosecution and defense have presented their cases, the judge in the case will provide instructions to the jury about what they must decide. The jury will be dismissed to the jury room where they will deliberate about the guilt or innocence of the defendant. After reaching a unaminous decision, they return their decision to the court where it is read aloud in the courtroom. If the jury is unable to reach a unaminous decision, the jury is deadlocked, also known as a hung jury, in which a mistrial will be declared.
What is the Burden of Proof?
The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is 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.
What happens in Cumberland County at an arraignment?
In Cumberland 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.
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.
Cumberland County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Cumberland County will take place at the Cumberland County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Cumberland County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Who can help me in Cumberland County?
For general information about your case the Cumberland 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.
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.
Cumberland County Criminal Court Locations
Cumberland County Circuit Court – 10th Judicial Circuit
Address: 1 Courthouse Circle, PO Box 8, Cumberland VA 23040
Phone: 804-492-4442 Fax: 804-492-4876
Cumberland County General District Court – 10th Judicial District
Address: PO Box 24, Cumberland VA 23040
Phone: 804-492-4848 Fax: 804-492-9455
Cumberland County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court
Address: PO Box 24, Cumberland VA 23040
Phone: 840-492-4848 Fax: 804-492-9455