Pasco County Criminal Court

Pasco County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Pasco County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Pasco 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.

Prosecutor in Pasco County

In Pasco County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Pasco County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Florida. For the most part, the prosecutor in Pasco County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Pasco County Criminal Court

Pasco County Criminal Court

Appealing a guilty verdict

A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.

Mandatory Appearances in Pasco County Criminal Court

At a mandatory or required court appearance in Pasco 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.

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.

What happens in Pasco County at an arraignment?

In Pasco 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 request a Plea Agreement?

In Pasco County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.

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.

I need help for my Pasco County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Pasco County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Pasco County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Where will Pasco County criminal case hearings take place?

Criminal cases will take place at the criminal courts of Pasco County. See here for the location of the criminal courts in Pasco County.

Jury Deliberations in Pasco County

In Pasco County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.

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.

Pasco County Criminal Court Locations

  • Circuit Court of Pasco County

    Address: 38053 Live Oak Avenue, Dade City, FL 33523
    Phone: 352-523-2411 Ext. 8199

  • Circuit Court of Pasco County

    Address: 7530 Little Road, PO Box 338, New Port Richey, FL 34656
    Phone: 727-847-8199

  • County Court of Pasco County

    Address: 38053 Live Oak Avenue, Dade City, FL 33523
    Phone: 352-521-4274

  • County Court of Pasco County

    Address: 7530 Little Road, PO Box 338, New Port Richey, FL 34656
    Phone: 727-847-8199

  • County Court of Pasco County

    Address: 38319 McDonald Street, Dade City, FL 33525
    Phone: 352-521-4408

  • County Court of Pasco County

    Address: 8902 Government Drive, New Port Richey, FL 34654
    Phone: 727-847-8086

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