Greenbrier County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Greenbrier County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Greenbrier County.
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.
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 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.
Who can help me in Greenbrier County?
For general information about your case the Greenbrier 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.
If guilty, who sentences the defendant?
If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.
Greenbrier County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Greenbrier County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Greenbrier County. The Greenbrier County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.
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.
Greenbrier County Required Court Appearances
In Greenbrier 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.
Greenbrier County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Greenbrier County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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.
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.
Greenbrier County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Greenbrier County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Greenbrier 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 Greenbrier 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.
Greenbrier County Criminal Court Locations
Greenbrier County Circuit Court
Address: 200 Court Street North, Lewisburg, WV 24901
Phone: 304-647-6626 Fax: 304-647-6666
Greenbrier County Magistrate Court
Address: 203 Green Lane, Lewisburg, WV 24901
Phone: 304-647-6632 Ext. 311 Fax: 304-647-6668
Alderson Municipal Court
Address: 202 South Monroe Street, PO Box 179, Alderson, WV 24910
Phone: 304-445-2916 Fax: 304-445-7248
Lewisburg Municipal Court
Address: 119 West Virginia Street, PO Box 548, Lewisburg, WV 24901
Quinwood Municipal Court
Address: 129 School Street, PO Box 194, Quinwood, WV 25981
Phone: 304-438-6658 Fax: 304-438-6064
Rainelle Municipal Court
Address: 201 Kanawha Avenue, PO Box 648, Rainelle, WV 25963
Phone: 304-438-7191 Fax: 304-438-6319
Ronceverte Municipal Court
Address: 300 West Main Street, Ronceverte, WV 24970
Phone: 304-647-5720 Fax: 304-647-5721
Rupert Municipal Court
Address: Drawer B, Rupert, WV 25984
White Sulphur Springs Municipal Court
Address: 32 West Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, WV 24986