Kanawha County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Kanawha County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Kanawha County.
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 Kanawha 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.
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.
Prosecutor in Kanawha County
In Kanawha County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Kanawha County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent West Virginia. For the most part, the prosecutor in Kanawha 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 Kanawha 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 Kanawha 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.
Required Court Appearances in Kanawha County
Any required court appearances in Kanawha 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.
Sentencing in Kanawha County
In Kanawha 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.
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.
Where will Kanawha County criminal case hearings take place?
Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Kanawha County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Kanawha 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.
The Right to Counsel
The Fifth and Sixth Amendments to the U.s. Constitution give defendants in criminal cases the right to counsel/attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed to represent you. Like other rights a defendant has, this one can be waived as well and alternatively you can choose to represent yourself.
Kanawha County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Kanawha County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Kanawha 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 Kanawha 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.
Kanawha County Criminal Court Locations
Kanawha County Circuit Court
Address: 111 Court Street, Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: 304-357-0440 Fax: 304-357-0473
Kanawha County Magistrate Court
Address: 111 Court Street, Charleston, WV 25301
Phone: 304-357-0422 Fax: 304-357-0431
Belle Municipal Court
Address: 1100 East Dupont Avenue, Belle, WV 25015
Phone: 304-949-3841 Fax: 304-949-5616
Cedar Grove Municipal Court
Address: 302 Alexander Street, PO Box 536, Cedar Grove, WV 25039
Charleston Municipal Court
Address: 501 Virginia Street East, PO Box 2749, Charleston, WV 25330
Phone: 304-348-8079 Fax: 304-348-6894
Chesapeake Municipal Court
Address: 12404 MacCorkle Avenue SE, Chesapeake, WV 25315
Phone: 304-949-1496 Fax: 304-949-5928
Clendenin Municipal Court
Address: 103 1st Street, PO Box 694, Clendenin, WV 25045
Phone: 304-548-4192 Fax: 304-548-4134
Dunbar Municipal Court
Address: 210 12th Street, PO Box 483, Dunbar, WV 25064
East Bank Municipal Court
Address: 201 Walnut Street, PO Box 307, East Bank, WV 25067
Glasgow Municipal Court
Address: Drawer 130, Glasgow, WV 25086
Phone: 304-595-1015 Fax: 304-595-2042
Handley Municipal Court
Address: 27506 2nd Avenue, PO Box 100, Handley, WV 25102
Marmet Municipal Court
Address: 9403 MacCorkle Avenue, PO Box 15037, Marmet, WV 25315
Phone: 304-949-2241 Fax: 304-949-2671
Nitro Municipal Court
Address: PO Box 308, Nitro, WV 25143
Phone: 304-755-0701 Fax: 304-204-1470
Pratt Municipal Court
Address: 200 Center Street, PO Box 128, Pratt, WV 25162
Phone: 304-442-4731 Fax: 304-442-5600
South Charleston Municipal Court
Address: 401-D Street, PO Box 8597, South Charleston, WV 25303
St. Albans Municipal Court
Address: 51 6th Avenue, Saint Albans, WV 25177