Briscoe County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Briscoe County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Briscoe County.
Who can help me in Briscoe County?
For general information about your case the Briscoe County court clerk will be able to provide legal information about your specific criminal case. Legal information is not legal advice though, the court clerk will only be able to provide information about your case, like date/time of hearings what will occur at the hearing and what you may be required to do in the hearing. They cannot provide advice about what you should do or what the best legal options may be for your particular case. Only an attorney can provide legal advice and this is your best place for information about your specific criminal proceeding. If you cannot afford to hire a private attorney to represent you, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent you, this is most often a public defender.
Prosecutor in Briscoe County
In Briscoe County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Briscoe County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Texas. For the most part, the prosecutor in Briscoe County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.
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.
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.
Can I request a Plea Agreement?
In Briscoe 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.
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.
Briscoe County Criminal Court hearings
Criminal hearings in Briscoe County will take place at the Briscoe County Criminal Courts. Please see here for a list of the Briscoe County Criminal Court Locations.
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.
Briscoe County Required Court Appearances
In Briscoe 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.
Briscoe County Arraignments
An arraignment is a court hearing. In Briscoe County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Briscoe 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 Briscoe 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.
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.
In a jury trial in Briscoe 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.
Briscoe County Criminal Court Locations
Briscoe County 110th District Court
Address: PO Box 555, Silverton TX 79257
Phone: 806-823-2134 Fax: 806-823-2359
Briscoe County Constitutional Court
Address: PO Box 555, Silverton TX 79257
Phone: 806-823-2134 Fax: 806-823-2076
Briscoe County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1
Address: PO Box 67, Silverton TX 79257
Phone: 806-823-2253 Fax: 806-823-2359
Briscoe County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2
Address: PO Box 296, Quitaque TX 79255
Phone: 806-455-1456 Fax: 806-823-2359