Mason County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Mason County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Mason County.
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.
Mason County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Mason County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Mason County. The Mason 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.
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.
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.
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 Mason County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
In a jury trial in Mason 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 Mason 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.
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.
Required Court Appearances in Mason County
Any required court appearances in Mason 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.
Mason County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Mason County will take place at the Mason County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Mason County Criminal Court Locations.
Mason County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Mason County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Mason 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 Mason 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 Mason 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 Mason 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.
Mason County Criminal Court Locations
Mason County Circuit Court
Address: 200 6th Street, Point Pleasant, WV 25550
Phone: 304-675-4400 Fax: 304-675-7419
Mason County Magistrate Court
Address: 200 6th Street, Point Pleasant, WV 25550
Phone: 304-675-6840 Fax: 304-675-5949
Hartford Municipal Court
Address: 19 Front Street, PO Box 96, Hartford, WV 25247
Phone: 304-882-2864 Fax: 304-882-2521
Henderson Municipal Court
Address: 1 Chester Street, PO Box 205, Henderson, WV 25106
Leon Municipal Court
Address: Drawer 136, Leon, WV 25123
Phone: 304-812-7070 Fax: 304-458-2030
Mason Municipal Court
Address: 656 2nd Street, PO Box 438, Mason, WV 25260
Phone: 304-773-5200 Fax: 304-773-5545
New Haven Municipal Court
Address: 218 5th Street, PO Box 217, New Haven, WV 25265
Phone: 304-882-3203 Fax: 304-882-2465
Point Pleasant Municipal Court
Address: 400 Viand Street, PO Box 204, Point Pleasant, WV 25550
Phone: 304-675-2360 Fax: 304-675-7220