Fayette County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Fayette County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Fayette County.
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.
In a jury trial in Fayette 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.
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 Fayette 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.
Who is the prosecutor for Fayette County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Fayette County criminal cases will either be a representative of Fayette County or a representative from West Virginia. 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.
Arraignments in Fayette County
During an arraignment in Fayette 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 Fayette 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 Fayette County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.
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.
Where will Fayette County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Fayette County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Fayette County.
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.
Fayette County Required Court Appearances
In Fayette 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 can I get help for my Fayette County criminal case?
The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Fayette County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.
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.
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.
Fayette County Criminal Court Locations
Fayette County Circuit Court
Address: 100 North Court Street, Fayetteville, WV 25840
Phone: 304-574-4249 Fax: 304-574-4314
Fayette County Magistrate Court
Address: 100 Church Street, Fayetteville, WV 25840
Phone: 304-574-4279 Fax: 304-574-2458
Ansted Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 798, Ansted, WV 25812
Phone: 304-658-5901 Fax: 304-658-4680
Fayetteville Municipal Court
Address: 125 North Court Street, PO Box 298, Fayetteville, WV 25840
Phone: 304-574-0101 Fax: 304-574-3765
Gauley Bridge Municipal Court
Address: 278 Railroad Street, PO Box 490, Gauley Bridge, WV 25085
Phone: 304-632-2505 Fax: 304-632-2504
Meadow Bridge Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 27, Meadow Bridge, WV 25976
Phone: 304-484-7492 Fax: 304-484-7154
Montgomery Municipal Court
Address: 706 3rd Avenue, Montgomery, WV 25136
Phone: 304-442-5181 Fax: 304-442-5395
Mount Hope Municipal Court
Address: 609 Main Street, PO Box 151, Mount Hope, WV 25880
Phone: 304-877-2211 Fax: 304-877-2880
Oak Hill Municipal Court
Address: 691 Virginia Street, PO Box 1245, Oak Hill, WV 25901
Pax Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 118, Pax, WV 25904
Phone: 304-877-2407 Fax: 304-877-3004
Smithers Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 489, Smithers, WV 25186
Thurmond Municipal Court
Address: HC 84, Box 184, Thurmond, WV 25936