Hampshire County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Hampshire County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Hampshire County.
Hampshire County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Hampshire County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is always on the prosecution in a criminal trial. In other words, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The defense must only prove that there is a reasonable possibility that the defendant did NOT commit the crime. If the prosecution cannot prove that the defendant committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury will be instructed to find the defendant not-guilty.
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.
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 Hampshire County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
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 Hampshire 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.
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.
Sentencing in Hampshire County
In Hampshire 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.
Hampshire County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Hampshire County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Hampshire 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 Hampshire 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.
Required Court Appearances in Hampshire County
Any required court appearances in Hampshire 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.
Prosecutor in Hampshire County
In Hampshire County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Hampshire County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent West Virginia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Hampshire County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
Where can I get help for my Hampshire 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 Hampshire 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.
Right to Jury Trial
For “Serious Crimes”, those that can have a potential penalty of 6 months in jail OR a minimum $500 penalty, the US Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury. This is guaranteed by Article III of the Constitution and the 6th Amendment. The accused has the ability to waive their right to trial by jury.
Hampshire County Criminal Court Locations
Hampshire County Circuit Court
Address: 50 South High Street, PO Box 343, Romney, WV 26757
Phone: 304-822-5022 Fax: 304-822-8257
Hampshire County Magistrate Court
Address: 50 South High Street, PO Box 881, Romney, WV 26757
Phone: 304-822-4311 Fax: 304-822-3981
Capon Bridge Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 183, Capon Bridge, WV 26711
Phone: 304-856-3625 Fax: 304-356-2495
Romney Municipal Court
Address: 340 East Main Street, Romney, WV 26757
Phone: 304-822-4060 Fax: 304-822-3842