Lauderdale County Criminal Court

Lauderdale County Criminal Court handles all criminal cases that are filed in Lauderdale County. See below for more information about criminal cases in Lauderdale County.

Prosecutor in Lauderdale County

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

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Lauderdale 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.

Lauderdale County Criminal Court

Lauderdale County Criminal 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.

Sentencing in Lauderdale County

In Lauderdale 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.

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Lauderdale 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 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.

Lauderdale County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Lauderdale County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Lauderdale County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Lauderdale County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Lauderdale 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 Lauderdale 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 Lauderdale 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 Lauderdale 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.

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.

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.

Lauderdale County Required Court Appearances

In Lauderdale County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Lauderdale County Criminal Court Locations

  • Lauderdale County Circuit Court

    Address: 500 Constitution Ave, PO Box 1005, Meridian MS 39302
    Phone: 601-482-9731 Fax: 601-482-9734

  • Lauderdale County Chancery Court

    Address: 500 Constitution Ave, PO Box 1587, Meridian MS 39302
    Phone: 601-482-9701

  • County Court of Lauderdale County

    Address: 500 Constitution Ave, PO Box 1005, Meridian MS 39302
    Phone: 601-482-9731 Fax: 601-482-9734

  • Lauderdale County Youth Court

    Address: 5400 Semmes Rd, Meridian MS 39307
    Phone: 601-482-9830 Fax: 601-484-1960

  • Lauderdale County Justice Court

    Address: 410 Constitution Ave, PO Box 5126, Meridian MS 39302
    Phone: 601-482-9875 Fax: 601-482-9813

  • Marion Municipal Court

    Address: 6021 Dale Dr, PO Box 310, Marion MS 39342
    Phone: 601-483-9573 Fax: 601-482-4827

  • Meridian Municipal Court

    Address: 510 22nd Ave S, Meridian MS 39301
    Phone: 601-485-1828 Fax: 601-484-6812

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