Nicholas County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Nicholas County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Nicholas County.
Where can I get help for my Nicholas 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 Nicholas 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.
In a jury trial in Nicholas 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.
What happens in Nicholas County at an arraignment?
In Nicholas County the defendant is brought into court and informed by the judge of the charges that have been filed against them along with informing them of their rights. At this time, the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty or no contest. If the defendant pleads guilty or no contest, there will be no trial and the defendant may be sentenced immediately or at a later date. If the defendant pleads not guilty a trial date is set.
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 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.
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.
Nicholas County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Nicholas County will take place at the Nicholas County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Nicholas County Criminal Court Locations.
Sentencing in Nicholas County
In Nicholas 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.
Required Court Appearances in Nicholas County
Any required court appearances in Nicholas 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.
Nicholas County Prosecutor
For criminal cases in Nicholas County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Nicholas County. The Nicholas 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.
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.
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 Nicholas County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.
Nicholas County Criminal Court Locations
Nicholas County Circuit Court
Address: 700 Main Street, Suite 5, Summersville, WV 26651
Phone: 304-872-7861 Fax: 304-872-7863
Nicholas County Magistrate Court
Address: 511 Church Street, Summersville, WV 26651
Phone: 304-872-7829 Fax: 304-872-7888
Richwood Municipal Court
Address: 6 White Avenue, Richwood, WV 26261
Phone: 304-846-2596 Fax: 304-846-2580
Summersville Municipal Court
Address: 400 North Broad Street, PO Box 525, Summersville, WV 26651
Phone: 304-872-1211 Fax: 304-872-2236