Harrison County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Harrison County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Harrison County.
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.
Who is the prosecutor for Harrison County?
Depending upon the case, the prosecutor for Harrison County criminal cases will either be a representative of Harrison 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.
Harrison County Criminal Court locations
Criminal proceedings take place in the Harrison County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.
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.
Harrison County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Harrison County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Harrison 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 Harrison 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.
Where can I get help for my Harrison 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 Harrison 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.
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.
Mandatory Appearances in Harrison County Criminal Court
At a mandatory or required court appearance in Harrison 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.
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.
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 Harrison 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.
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 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.
Harrison County Criminal Court Locations
Harrison County Circuit Court
Address: 301 West Main Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301
Phone: 304-624-8640 Fax: 304-624-8710
Harrison County Magistrate Court
Address: 306 Washington Avenue, Room 222, Clarksburg, WV 26301
Phone: 304-624-8648 Fax: 304-624-8740
Anmoore Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 178, Anmoore, WV 26323
Phone: 304-622-7431 Fax: 304-622-5245
Bridgeport Municipal Court
Address: 515 West Main Street, Bridgeport, WV 26330
Clarksburg Municipal Court
Address: 222 West Main Street, Clarksburg, WV 26301
Lost Creek Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 216, Lost Creek, WV 26385
Phone: 304-745-3466 Fax: 304-745-5664
Lumberport Municipal Court
Address: 119 George Street, PO Box 519, Lumberport, WV 26386
Phone: 304-584-4370 Fax: 304-584-4666
Nutter Fort Municipal Court
Address: 1415 Buckhannon Pike, Nutter Fort, WV 26301
Phone: 304-622-7713 Fax: 304-623-0288
Salem Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 352, Salem, WV 26426
Phone: 304-782-1318 Fax: 304-782-4229
Shinnston Municipal Court
Address: 43 Bridge Street, Shinnston WV 26431
Phone: 304-592-2121 Fax: 304-592-0808
Stonewood Municipal Court
Address: 112 Southern Avenue, Stonewood, WV 26301
Phone: 304-623-2919 Fax: 304-624-0125
West Milford Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 120, West Milford, WV 26451
Phone: 304-745-3131 Fax: 304-745-4625